China is planning to launch 12 satellites in 2009 as part of Big Dipper Satellite Navigation & Position System (BDSNPS), aiming to provide basic services to domestic and neighboring regions, said Ran Chengqi, deputy head of National Center of Satellite Navigation Project (NCSNP), at a conference on October 28.
BDSNPS was born in 2000. The dozen new satellites, adding onto its current five, is a major step toward a final complete system of 30+ satellites. Ran claimed that the system aims to expand services around the globe.
According to Xinhua, China started its R&D on satellite navigation in 1994, following US, Russia, and Europe.
Source: Xinhua, October 28