China is preparing to start deploying its own constellation of telecommunications satellites in low Earth orbit to provide broadband Internet access. The first devices under this program will go into outer space at the end of this year, and in general, the constellation will include 13,000 satellites.
This project will be implemented by China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation (CASC). The first batch of telecommunications satellites will be launched into low Earth orbit by a Long March 5B launch vehicle and a Yuanzheng-2 second stage from the Wenchang coastal launch site in the second half of this year. Ultimately, China intends to build a satellite internet system capable of competing with Western counterparts such as SpaceX’s Starlink.
The Chinese Academy of Space Technology (CAST), CASC’s largest subsidiary, and the Microsatellite Innovation Academy of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (IAMCAS) will reportedly manufacture satellites under the project. The first batch of telecommunications vehicles, which will go into orbit this year, will consist of 30 satellites. It is also not excluded that other enterprises, including commercial ones, may be involved in the project.
The source notes that in recent years, China has significantly increased its capabilities in terms of the production of miniature satellites. Currently, several enterprises within the country can create hundreds of spacecraft every year. These include aerospace company GalaxySpace and China Aerospace Science and Industry Corporation (CASIC). So last year, GalaxySpace delivered six test telecommunications satellites into low Earth orbit.
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