The Chinese are closing in on the completion of the BeiDou constellation with 39 satellites now on-orbit and more launches planned, an official told a conference on aerospace technology innovation.
Yang Jun, deputy director of China’s Satellite Navigation System Management Office, told attendees at the Shanghai event that the plan is to loft five to seven more satellites into place this year and another two to four in 2020, according to the Xinhua news agency.
In the future the BeiDou Navigation Satellite System (BDS) will be further integrated with the internet, the internet of things, 5G and big data, Yang said.
Yang said BeiDou’s construction has always been driven by innovation and development, Xinhua reported, providing steadily improving positioning accuracy and new functions including the ability to send short messages globally, support international search and rescue and offer satellite-based augmentation.
For more on this topic, read: China Uses New Data System for Health Check of BeiDou Spacecraft