Close to the end of the calendar year, the China Satellite Navigation Office has announced the start of a global BeiDou navigation service (https://news.cgtn.com/news/3d3d414e32456a4e31457a6333566d54/share_p.html).
As of Dec. 27, 7:00 UTC the 18 BDS-3 MEO satellites launched so far have been set healthy, which yields a total of 21 MEO satellites for the global service and an additional 12 BDS-2 GEO and IGSO satellites for the regional system. Following some reassignments of PRN numbers, the constellation now covers the full range of PRN C01 to C37 described in the initial BDS-2 B1I/B2I ICD. PRNs exceeding that range are presently only used by some non-operational satellites. Note that the “experimental” or “IOV” satellites designated as BDS-3S are not part of the operational system but remain in a “testing” status. An overview of the current constellation is given in http://www.csno-tarc.cn/system/constellation&ce=english
At this stage, IGS infrastructure and data processing chains can only offer limited support for the new BDS-3 satellites. Even though BDS-3 has two signals (B1I and B3I) in common with BDS-2, dual-frequency tracking for the new MEO satellites is only supported by a limited number of stations. The generation of precise orbit and clock products is also hampered by incomplete satellite metadata information.
With this mail, we’d like to encourage active support of the new BDS-3 satellites by all IGS users, station providers, and analysis centers, but also equipment manufacturers and the BDS system provider, so that all of the new satellites can soon be integrated into the IGS product portfolio.