COVID-19: China's BeiDou Satellites Help Fight Against Epidemic
As China built two makeshift hospitals in Wuhan to fight the coronavirus (COVID-19) epidemic, equipment based on the BeiDou Navigation Satellite System (BDS) provided high precision positioning service and accelerated the construction.
Beidou navigation and positioning system (BDS) is used in sectors including public security, transportation, fishing, power, forestry, disaster reduction, the construction of smart cities, social governance and mass market applications. This system can also be used for emergency search and rescue.
China's Ministry of Transport sent epidemic prevention and transportation service information to more than 6 million vehicles via the BDS terminals, and provided services for the transportation of emergency materials to the areas most affected by the epidemic.
China Post Group Co., Ltd. has installed 5,000 BDS terminals on its trunk line vehicles, and used the vehicle positioning information to conduct real-time supervision and allocation, so as to ensure timely delivery of epidemic prevention materials. Moreover, BDS-based robots in Wuhan from the e-commerce and logistics company JD.com delivered medical materials to hospital isolation areas with high speed.
The completed Beidou navigation satellite system consists of 27 satellites in medium Earth orbits, five in geostationary orbits and three in inclined GEO orbits. The orbits of the latter are designed to form two figure eight loops to provide optimized coverage to China and neighboring countries in the Asia-Pacific.
After a successful launch of the country's the 54th Beidou positioning, navigation and timing satellite last week, China is close to completing a GPS system for civil and military applications. The Long March 3B/E rocket, which arrived at the Xichang Satellite Launch Center on Feb. 14, lifted off from Xichang Satellite Launch Center at 7:55 a.m (EST) and was sent into a geosynchronous transfer orbit. Another launch is planned for May 2020.
BDS additionally boost the capabilities of the People’s Liberation Army in areas of weapons targeting, guidance and other services. Notably Beidou removes previous Chinese military reliance on U.S. GPS, which would be made unavailable in a conflict.
On Feb. 15, China announced that the 41st and 49th (geosynchronous), 50th and 51st (medium Earth orbit) Beidou satellites had completed on-orbit testing and officially joined the network.