China’s independent Beidou satellite navigation system has been operating since 2000. Consisting of just three satellites (and one backup), that first generation system offered only limited coverage to customers in China and neighboring regions. Now, to end any reliance on the US-maintained Global Positioning System (GPS), the second generation of the Beidou system has begun operations. The system currently consists of 10 satellites and covers the Asia–Pacific region, with the number of satellites gradually increasing to a total of 35 that will cover the entire globe by 2020.
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