Satellite tech plays unseen role at Winter Games

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China’s Beidou Navigation Satellite System played an invisible but important role in the Beijing 2022 Olympic Winter Games, according to the China Satellite Navigation Office.

It said in a statement that Chinese athletes and trainers had benefited from the use of a Beidou-enabled training suit developed by researchers from the Capital University of Physical Education and Sports in collaboration with a number of other research institutes.

Beidou is currently China’s largest civilian satellite system and one of four global navigation networks, along with the United States’ GPS, Russia’s GLONASS and the European Union’s Galileo systems.

Since 2000, a total of 59 Beidou satellites, including four first experimental units, have been lifted into orbit aboard 44 Long March 3-series rockets from the Xichang Satellite Launch Center in Sichuan province. Some have since retired.

Beidou began to provide positioning, navigation, timing and messaging services to civilian users in China and other parts of the Asia-Pacific region in December 2012. At the end of 2018, it started providing basic services globally.

In June 2020, the final satellite in Beidou’s third-generation network was lifted into orbit aboard a Long March 3B rocket and was placed in geostationary orbit about 36,000 kilometers above the Earth.

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