BEIJING - A 16th satellite will be added to China's indigenous satellite navigation system, Beidou, within this month, paving the way for the network to provide services to the Asia-Pacific.
A report in the Beijing News on Monday quoted Guo Shuren, a core member of the China Satellite Navigation System's development team, as saying that the system is expected to start providing free services to civilian users in the Asia-Pacific region in the first half of 2013.
China has successfully launched five satellites for Beidou this year in an effort to eventually weave a constellation of 35 satellites by 2020, at which point it could rival the U.S. Global Positioning System (GPS) and Russia's Global Navigation Satellite System (GLONASS) for services around the Earth.
So far, the Beidou system has a total of 15 satellites, five in geostationary orbit, five in inclined geostationary orbit and five in medium Earth orbit, according to the management office.
Ran Chengqi, spokesman and director of the office, said in December last year that six more satellites will be launched in 2012 to further improve Beidou and expand its service area to cover most parts of the Asia-Pacific.
Since it started to function on a trial basis on December 27th, 2011, Beidou has been stable and its services have been increased and improved, said a spokesman of the office on September 19th after the successful launch of the 14th and 15th satellites.
The 16th will probably be launched in the last 10 days of October, according to the Beijing News report.
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