The BeiDou Navigation Satellite System (BDS) is China’s first space infrastructure to provide public services for the world. During the development of the BeiDou-3 system, China have always kept Arab friends in mind. The BDS is bound to promote the cooperation between China and Arab states to a higher level. In January 2016, China signed a memorandum of understanding on cooperation in terms of BDS development with Saudi Arabia, the Arab Information and Communication Technologies Organization (AICTO), and the Arab Academy for Science Technology & Maritime Transport (AASTMT) to establish a formal cooperation mechanism; the first China-Arab States BDS Cooperation Forum was held to build a High-end China-Arab states cooperation forum in satellite navigation.
In April 2018, the first China-Arab States BDS/GNSS Center was inaugurated in Tunisia, serving as a open platform for the China-Arab cooperation in satellite navigation; in December 2018, China optimized its satellite launch plan to provide privileged services to BRI countries including the Arab states two years ahead of schedule; in April 2019, the second China-Arab States BDS Cooperation Forum was held, marking a long-term mechanism for the forum developed; in September 2019, China and Iraq signed a memorandum of understanding to cooperate on Beidou expansion, clearly reflecting an all-round cooperation in BDS application. China is willing to share technological achievements with Arab countries in the high-tech field and is ready to strengthen its technical cooperation and exchange in the field of satellite navigation with Arab countries.
Over the past 20 years, from the successful launch of the first experimental satellite BeiDou-1A in October 2000 to the deployment of the last global networking satellite of the BeiDou-3 Navigation Satellite System in June 2020, China has successively launched four BeiDou experimental satellites and 55 BeiDou-2 and BeiDou-3 networking satellites into orbit. At present, the BDS has been applied in more than half of the countries and regions across the world. Solutions based on the system for confirmation of land rights, precise agriculture, digital construction, timing service at airports, monitoring and management on vehicles and ships, and intelligent port management have been successfully applied in countries in the ASEAN, South Asia, East Europe, West Asia, Africa, etc.
It is learned that the current BDS’s global positioning accuracy is better than 5m, and it can also provide high-precision and high-integrity services to users with meter, decimeter, and centimeter-level real-time positioning. In addition to the basic navigation and timing services, the BDS can also provide diverse services, including satellite-based augmentation, ground-based augmentation, short message communication, international search and rescue, and precise point positioning. The three different orbit mixed constellations, unique of BDS, have integrated the Medium Earth orbit (MEO), the inclined geosynchronous orbit (IGSO) and the geostationary orbit (GEO) with higher accuracy of service signals and stronger anti-shielding capabilities.