Satellite navigation Current Affairs - 2020

China launches two new Navigational Satellites into space

China launched two new navigational satellites into space as part of its domestic navigation system BeiDou (meaning Compass).

The 18th and 19th satellites (of total constellation of 35 satellites) were successfully launched from the Xichang Satellite Launch Center in southwestern Sichuan province.

About BeiDou Satellite Navigation System

  • BeiDou is 2nd generation of the Chinese navigational system seen as rival to the US’s Global Positioning System (GPS).
  • Comprises constellation of total 35 satellites in two separate satellite constellations viz. limited test system (operational since 2000) and a full-scale global navigation system which is currently under construction.
  • Became operational in China in December 2011, with the constellation of 10 satellites. In December 2012, it began offering services to customers in the Asia-Pacific region and on its completion in 2020, it will provide services to global customers.
  • Applications: Currently it used for civilian services in field of navigation, messaging, transportation and weather forecasting sectors. It also has military applications.

Apple acquires GPS firm Coherent Navigations

Tech giant Apple has acquired Global Position System (GPS) firm Coherent Navigation to improve its mapping capabilities.

Coherent Navigation’s technology will be used by Apple to significantly enhance its Apple Maps product which is struggling to provide accurate location information.

Coherent Navigations is a company focused on hyper-accurate GPS and its navigation system provides accurate location information to within a few centimeters. The company also specializes in high-precision GPS technogy, which combines standard GPS data with data from the Iridium satellite communications constellation for pin point accuracy.

It should be noted that in 2012 Apple Maps was phased out by Google Maps which had attracted a wide range of audience to their service.

The acquisition is also part of a series of map-related technology deals made by Apple in recent years. Earlier, Apple acquired mapping start-ups Embark, and BroadMap. All of these mapping start-ups were acquired by Apple in order to create its own alternative to Google Maps for the mapping feature on its devices.