Like the U.S. GPS and European Galileo positioning, navigation and timing constellations, Beidou has both an open signal and a protected, encrypted signal reserved for government and military use. Credit: beidou.gov.cn
SINGAPORE — Singapore and China have agreed to open a center to develop applications for China’s Beidou global navigation system and have signed a commercial agreement to create anti-jamming systems to protect Beidou signals, Singapore and Chinese organizations announced June 2.
At a briefing during the CommunicAsia telecommunications show here, SpaceTime Technology Pte Ltd. and ST Electronics (Satcom & Sensor Systems) Pte Ltd. signed a memorandum of understanding to “develop in Singapore an interference-resistant Beidou satellite positioning system.”
The companies described the effort as one that would work against unintentional jamming of Beidou signals in urban environments in which wireless devices occasionally overstep their radio-frequency boundaries.
They did not mention any military or other more-strategic applications to protect against jamming from North Korea or to prevent Beidou from being jammed during a military conflict.
Like the U.S. GPS and European Galileo positioning, navigation and timing constellations, Beidou has both an open signal and a protected, encrypted signal reserved for government and military use. Finding a place on the radio spectrum for these signals without using the same spectrum used by any of the other constellations has been a long debate among the systems.
Galileo managers wanted to place their Public Regulated Service (PRS) signals on the same spectrum used by the GPS military code until the U.S. government protested that, if it did so, Europe would forfeit all future cooperation with the United States in satellite navigation. European NATO government militaries will be using the GPS military code.
Following that, China announced that its encrypted Beidou signal would occupy a part of the spectrum planned for Galileo’s PRS.
Europe’s Galileo managers ultimately concluded that since they could not use regulatory authority to move the Beidou signal fully off Galileo’s PRS frequencies, their only option was to increase the power of the PRS signal emitted by the Galileo satellites.
Having one system overlay the frequencies of another does not create interference and therefore poses no issues to international regulators. But any overlay would mean the owners of one constellation could not jam the other without jamming its own.
The China-Singapore agreement is the first such arrangement outside Chinese territory, SpaceTime said in a statement outlining the agreement creating a center of excellence for Chinese navigation and location-based services.
“The establishment of the [Center of Excellence] will provide a platform for Chinese satellite navigation companies to expand internationally,” SpaceTime said.
SpaceTime was established this year with the support of the GNSS and LBS Association of China (GLAC), a nonprofit organization that performs research on navigation systems.
Miao Qianjun, secretary-general of GLAC, said the Singapore center “is the first established by GLAC overseas [and] an innovative effort for the internationalization of this association.”
SpaceTime’s partner in the Center of Excellence, ST Electronics (Satcom & Sensor Systems), is a major builder of satellite ground antennas and is owner of VT iDirect of the United States, a satellite broadband ground system provider.