BeiDou is a Chinese GNSS that over time has been launched in three separate generations of the system. The latest generation is fully developed with global coverage.

Chinese satellite system

The first BeiDou satellite was launched by China National Space Administration (CNSA) in 2000 and in 2007 a small prototype system called BeiDou‑1, with coverage over mainly China, was available.

In 2012, the second generation (BeiDou‑2) was deployed with a full satellite constellation, consisting of approximately 15 satellites. Most of the BeiDou‑2 satellites are in some form of geosynchronous orbit that follows the earth's rotation, with a coverage area over East Asia and the Pacific region. Satellites have been launched from 2007–2019 and the generation, that also is named Compass, is still in operation.

The global generation (BeiDou‑3) was fully deployed in 2020 after frequent launches of 30 satellites in 2017–2020.

Of the 30 BeiDou‑3 satellites, 24 are in a normal global orbit around the earth and six are in some form of geosynchronous orbit that follows the earth's rotation. The satellites in normal global orbit are at an altitude of approximately 21,150 kilometres above the earth's surface in six different orbital planes with an inclination of 55.5 degrees. Of the satellites in geosynchronous orbit, three have an inclination of zero degrees (geostationary satellites placed above the equator) and three have an inclination different from zero (oscillates above the equator).

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