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Beidou promotion targets Arab states

Zhao Lei
Updated: May 20,2016 7:26 AM     China Daily

A Long March 3C cargo rocket lifts off in Xichang, Sichuan province, on Feb 2 to carry a Beidou navigation satellite into orbit.[Photo/Xinhua]

China will strive to promote its Beidou Navigation Satellite System in Arab states, according to a senior official with the Beidou program.

The country is in talks with several Arab nations, including Saudi Arabia and Egypt, to help them introduce Beidou-based positioning and navigational services, said Ran Chengqi, director of the China Satellite Navigation Office.

“We will open cooperation with them in terms of technological exchanges, personnel training and promotion of Beidou-based applications,” he said on the sidelines of the Seventh China Satellite Navigation Conference, which opened in Changsha on May 18.

“The countries involved have expressed an interest in the use of our satellite navigation services,” he added.

In a speech at the Arab League headquarters in Cairo in January, President Xi Jinping said China and the League had agreed to introduce the Beidou system to Arab states. He added that the two sides would hold a China-Arab States Beidou Cooperation Forum.

Ma Jiaqing, deputy director of the China Satellite Navigation Office, said last week that tests in Doha, capital of the Gulf state of Qatar, showed local ground facilities could receive signals from up to eight Beidou satellites.

This means the Beidou system is able to independently provide positioning, navigational and timing services to local users, and its accuracy is as good as other space-based navigational systems, he said.

Ma made the comments at the seventh ministerial meeting of the China-Arab States Cooperation Forum in Doha.

The First China-Arab States Beidou Cooperation Forum is due to be held next year.

According to the China Satellite Navigation Office, one of the forum’s main goals will be to enable Arab states to better understand the Beidou system and its achievements.

It will also promote Beidou-based applications in a number of civilian sectors in the Arab world such as the mining and oil industries, agriculture, traffic management and urban administration.

China launched the first Beidou satellite in 2000. It began providing positioning, navigational, timing and short-messaging services to civilian users in China and surrounding areas in the Asia-Pacific region in December 2012.

The country has launched 22 satellites for the system and plans to launch about 30 more by the end of 2020.

The government plans for the Beidou system to comprise 35 functioning satellites by 2020, five of which will be in geostationary orbit-a circular orbit more than 35,780 kilometers above the equator and following the direction of the Earth’s rotation.