BeiDou: China launches final satellite in challenge to GPS
China is launching the last satellite in its own geolocation system, which is expected to compete with the US GPS network.
China has successfully put the last satellite into orbit in its BeiDou-3 navigation system and further advanced the country as a major power in space.
With the start on Tuesday, China can no longer rely on the Global Positioning System (GPS) operated by the US government.
The $ 10 billion (GBP 8 billion) network consists of 35 satellites and offers global navigation coverage.
Tensions between Beijing and Washington over the corona virus, trade and Hong Kong are increasing.
Launch was scheduled for last week, but was delayed after pre-launch testing identified technical issues with the missile.
The third version of the Beidou Navigation Satellite System (BDS) offers an alternative to Russia's GLONASS and European Galileo systems as well as America's GPS.
Future plans promise to support a more accessible and integrated system that is expected to go online by 2035, with a focus on BDS.
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The first version of BeiDou, which means "Big Dipper", was taken out of service in 2012.
China's space program has grown rapidly over the past 20 years as Beijing has made significant funds available to develop the country's own high-tech systems.
In 2003, China was the only third country to launch its own space mission with crew. Since then, it has built an experimental space station and sent two rovers to the moon.
The movements are seen as preparation for a permanent space station, a possible flight with crew to the moon and a possible first attempt to send an orbiter and rover to Mars.
That would make China a serious competitor to America in space exploration.
Relations between the United States and China were tense
Relations between Beijing and Washington have become increasingly tense on several issues since the beginning of this year.
US President Donald Trump and his government have repeatedly criticized China for dealing with the Corona virus outbreak - the virus first appeared there in December.
In response to a new Hong Kong security law pushed by Beijing, the US president announced last month that he would end the city's preferential treatment for trade and travel.
This week, the U.S.-China relationship was increasingly scrutinized after former national security advisor John Bolton said in his new book that Mr. Trump asked Chinese President Xi Jinping for help to win the reelection.
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