People all over the planet depend on the GPS satellite positioning system for all sorts of things from navigating in their cars to keeping up with equipment and personnel. China says that it intendeds to have an operational GPS system covering all of Asia by 2010.
Despite the 2010 date specified, Chinese officials aren’t giving up much information. In fact officials from Japan say that it and China have had no talks concerning interoperability of the two nations GPS satellite systems. This is despite the fact that both China and Japan are members of the International Committee on Global Navigation Satellite Systems (ICGNSS) that was founded to ensure global interoperability of navigation satellite networks.
China has also not yet completed frequency coordination with the other ICGNSS member nations including the U.S., Europe, Russia and others. According to Space.com, Chinese officials said at the Toulouse Space Show that China’s global Compass/Beidou system would be fully compatible with the U.S. GPS, European Galileo, and Russian Glonass global navigation constellations.
Japanese officials are concerned about the Chinese Asia regional system because Japan is developing its own regional system called the Quazi Zenith Satellite Systems which will have three satellites in a highly elliptical orbit with an apogee over Japan and Asia. According to Satoshi Kogure from the Japan Aerospace Exploration Japanese Agency some in Japan feel the Chinese navigation satellite system is an important issue for Japanese national security.
The head of the Galileo unit at the European Commission financing the development of the Galileo constellation notes that when the U.S., Russian, Chinese and European medium Earth satellites are added together there could be 120 operational navigation satellites in medium Earth orbit.
The Chinese satellite system will also reportedly include an encrypted channel, presumably for use by the Chinese military.