April 14, 2022
BeiDou: China’s GPS Challenger Takes Its Place on the World Stage
Global navigation satellite systems (GNSS) provide a service many people take for granted. The GNSS applications people use fall into five major categories: location, navigation, tracking, mapping, and timing. Today, four countries operate GNSS: the United States has GPS, Russia has GLObal NAvigation Satellite System (GLONASS), the European Union (EU) has Galileo, and China has the BeiDou Navigation Satellite System, usually referred to as “BeiDou.” A careful analysis of BeiDou and the multi-GNSS environment reveals that, although BeiDou does not represent a technological coup for the Chinese, it does constitute an incremental erosion of American technical prestige by presenting a viable alternative to GPS in an important sector that billions of people around the world use every day.