Unseen role of satellite tech at Winter Games

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

FREMONT, CA: The China Satellite Navigation Office remarked in a statement that a Beidou-enabled training suit developed by researchers from the Capital University of Physical Education and Sports in partnership with several other research institutes had benefited Chinese athletes and trainers. By employing the high-precision positioning information of the system, the suit proved useful for coaches to monitor and record data regarding location, route, speed and acceleration.

Coaches can change training plans based on the data, while athletes can enhance tactics or movements, according to the release, which also stated that the suit can warn athletes when they are approaching safety concerns. During Olympic training, participants in sports like alpine skiing and cross-country skiing made use of  it.

A fleet of driverless vehicles was examined during the Games at the Shougang Big Air venue in Beijing. The self-driving cars, which combine artificial intelligence, 5G, and Beidou technology, were utilised to transport passengers and cargo, sell and deliver goods, and patrol for security. According to the office, the trucks were able to reach users and destinations quickly and accurately thanks to Beidou's satellite navigation and positioning service, saving manpower and time.

Along with the United States GPS, Russia's GLONASS and the European Union's Galileo systems, Beidou is currently China's largest civilian satellite system and one of four global navigation networks. Since 2000, 44 Long March 3-series rockets have launched 59 Beidou satellites into orbit, including four first experimental units, from the Xichang Satellite Launch Center in Sichuan province.

In December 2012, Beidou began providing civilian users in China and other areas of the Asia-Pacific region with positioning, navigation, timing, and messaging services. It began providing basic services globally towards the end of 2018. The final satellite in Beidou's third-generation network was launched into geostationary orbit about 36,000 kilometres above the Earth in June 2020, using a Long March 3B rocket.

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