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A step forward for Beidou, China’s satellite navigation system

中国“北斗”导航系统获国际海事机构认可.jpg

China's own satellite navigation system has won a stamp of approval from an international maritime body, an important step toward its goal of global acceptance for its answer to the United States’ Global Positioning System.

中国自己开发的卫星导航系统获得了一个国际海事机构的批准,这是朝着其全球目标迈出的重要一步。该系统是对美国“全球定位系统”的回应,中国希望它在全球范围内能获得广泛接受。

The Maritime Safety Committee of the International Maritime Organization, a United Nations body that sets standards for international shipping, formally included Beidou in the World-Wide Radionavigation System during its Nov. 17-21 meeting. This means that the Chinese system has become the third system, after GPS and Russia’s Global Navigation Satellite System, recognized by the United Nations body for operations at sea.

国际海事组织的海上安全委员会,是负责在制定国际航运标准的联合国机构。该委员会在11月17日至21日的会议上,正式把中国的北斗系统列入全球无线电导航系统。这意味着,北斗已经成为继GPS和俄罗斯全球导航卫星系统之后,获得海上安全委员会认可的第三个海上作业系统。

The inclusion of Beidou “is a recognition that Beidou can provide positioning data of adequate accuracy for its coverage area,” said Kevin Pollpeter, who focuses on China’s space program and information warfare issues at the Institute on Global Conflict and Cooperation at the University of California, San Diego.

列入北斗“是因为它能够在覆盖区域内,提供足够精确的定位数据,” 凯文·波尔彼得表示。他在加州大学圣迭戈分校全球冲突与合作研究所研究中国的太空计划和信息战问题。

China first tested the Beidou system in 2000 and has since invested billions in its development to compete with and lower the country’s dependence on GPS. It has mandated the use of the domestic system in government departments including public security, disaster relief and tourism. In January 2013, the country's transportation authority ordered all tour buses, long-distance buses and vehicles transporting “dangerous articles” in nine provinces to install the system. New heavy trucks manufactured in the nine provinces must install the system or they will not receive transportation permits, the vice minister of transport said. The country has also installed the navigation system in more than 50,000 Chinese fishing boats, including those plying the waters of the disputed South China Sea.

中国第一次测试北斗系统是在2000年,此后该国投入数以十亿计的美元来开发它,以便与与GPS抗衡,降低该国对GPS的依赖。中国规定公安、抢险救灾和旅游等政府部门使用国产系统。2013年1月,交通运输部责令九个省为所有旅游大巴、长途客车和运送“危险物品”的车辆安装北斗系统。这九个省制造的新重型卡车必须安装该系统,否则无法获得交通运输许可证,交通运输部副部长说。该国还把这种导航系统安装在5万多艘中国渔船上,其中包括那些在有争议的南海海域作业的渔船。

But Beidou is not yet a mature system and is hardly poised to rival GPS globally, analysts say. Currently, GPS holds 95 percent of China’s navigation market.

但北斗还不是一个成熟系统,尚未做好在全球范围内和GPS竞争的准备,分析师说。目前,GPS在中国导航市场上占有95%的份额。

“I would not expect this announcement to result in an upsurge of demand for Beidou,” Mr. Pollpeter said, citing such factors as the decades-long proven reliability of GPS, its accuracy and cheaper receiver cost.

“我觉得北斗成为全球无线电导航系统的消息,不会导致人们对它的需求高涨,”波尔彼得说,因为GPS的可靠性经过了数十年的考验,它有很高的准确性,而且GPS接收器也更便宜。

However, what the Beidou system does have is strong backing from the Chinese government. In 2012, the vice chairman of the country’s top military body, the Central Military Commission, urged the country’s researchers to improve the system’s capacity to prevent interference, calling the system a “milestone” for the country and military, the state news agency Xinhua reported. The following year, the country’s powerful National Development and Reform Commission drew up a national development plan for Beidou.

然而,北斗系统得到了中国政府的大力支持。据中国官方通讯社新华社报道,2012年,该国最高军事机构中央军事委员会副主席敦促中国研究人员提高该系统的抗干扰能力,他还称该系统为国家和军队树立了一个“里程碑”。次年,中国强大的发改委为北斗制定了全国性发展计划。

Not content with the system’s adoption within China, the government has also set the goal of providing global coverage with 35 geostationary and non-geostationary orbit satellites by 2020. To promote the system’s adoption by other Asian countries, China has been offering civilian use of the service free, the director of the Beidou Satellite System Application Center told Xinhua last year.

中国政府不满足于国内对北斗系统的采用,还设立目标,决心到2020年,用35个对地静止和非静止轨道的卫星提供覆盖全球的信号。去年,北斗卫星系统应用中心的主任告诉记者,为了促进其他亚洲国家对该系统的采用,中国免费用它提供民用服务。

“China sees development of Beidou as critical to its military and economic security and has designated it as part of its national infrastructure,” Mr. Pollpeter said.

“中国认为北斗系统的开发是其军事和经济安全的关键要素,并将其作为国家级基础设施来建设,”波尔彼得说。

“The market for satellite navigation products and services in China is estimated to reach to 400 billion renminbi,” about $65 billion, by 2020 and China wants Beidou to capture 70 to 80 percent market share, Mr. Pollpeter said.

到2020年,“中国的卫星导航产品和服务市场规模可达4千亿人民币,”中国希望北斗系统能够占据70%至80%的市场份额,波尔彼得说。

The Chinese Ministry of Transportation sent a delegation to the Maritime Safety Committee meeting, held in London, to introduce the Chinese system. Beidou is the Chinese name for the Big Dipper constellation, one of the brightest clusters of stars in the solar system, which long served as a crucial navigational tool for travelers.

中国交通部的代表团参加了海上安全委员会在伦敦举行的会议,并对北斗系统做了介绍。北斗是Big Dipper的中文名字,从太阳系中看去,它是最明亮的星群,长期以来都是旅行者的重要导航标志。

What China has been able to do in recent years is overtake Europe’s efforts with its Galileo system, said Todd E. Humphreys, assistant professor at the University of Texas at Austin’s Cockrell School of Engineering. Galileo has not yet been included in the World-Wide Radionavigation System.

欧洲也在开发伽利略系统,最近几年,中国赶超了他们,德克萨斯大学奥斯汀分校科克雷尔工程学校的助理教授托德·E·汉弗莱斯说。伽利略尚未被列入全球无线电导航系统。

“It’s interesting that BDS” — Beidou — “began in earnest after Galileo, but has by now outpaced Galileo in establishing itself as a global system,” Mr. Humphreys said. “The Europeans are hampered by too many committees.”

“有趣的是,BDS(即北斗)比伽利略后发而先至,已经成为了一个全球性系统,”汉弗莱斯说。“欧洲的委员会太多,阻碍了他们的步伐。”

2016-06-24

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