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Company to establish space-based network

By ZHAO LEI | China Daily | Updated: 2022-01-19 09:35

Broadband communication satellites developed by GalaxySpace (photo blurred to protect commercial secrets). [Photo/CHINA DAILY]

GalaxySpace will launch six satellites to verify broadband internet technologies

GalaxySpace, a private satellite maker based in Beijing, plans to deploy six satellites into low-Earth orbits before the end of March to establish a space-based internet network, the company said on Tuesday.

The six communication satellites were recently transported to the Xichang Satellite Launch Center in Sichuan province and are scheduled to be launched by a Long March 2C carrier rocket in the first quarter of the year, the company said in a news release.

They will form an experimental communication network called "Mini Spider Constellation" to verify broadband internet technologies. Users will get access to high-speed internet service through satellite signals transmitted through ground-based gateway stations, according to engineers.

Each of the satellites weighs about 200 kilograms, has a large transmission capacity of several gigabits per second and uses multiple bands.

The design and production of the satellites began early last year and took only 11 months, GalaxySpace said, noting that in addition to their communication payload, the satellites are also equipped with remote-sensing devices capable of taking pictures and videos.

Zhang Shijie, a satellite technology researcher and partner at GalaxySpace, said the Mini Spider Constellation will give users 30 minutes of nonstop access to broadband internet each time they connect their terminals such as mobile phones and laptops to the satellite system.

"The experimental network will help us test our satellites' capabilities and performance in different environments, explore new internet service solutions, and accumulate experience for larger-scale networking operations," he said.

Established in April 2018, GalaxySpace has become a fast-developing player in China's private satellite industry, with its own smart satellite factory being built in Jiangsu province.

It launched its first satellite - GalaxySpace 1 - in January 2020 from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in northwestern China.

Widely considered the country's first 5G-capable satellite, the GalaxySpace 1 has conducted a lot of in-orbit tests with ground stations, extensively advancing the research and development of satellite-based internet technology, Zhang said.

The satellite is still operating and remains China's most powerful low-orbiting communication satellite as well as the biggest spacecraft ever built by a private Chinese company.

In the near future, GalaxySpace aims to build a commercial satellite system in a low-Earth orbit to offer broadband internet and other communication services with global coverage.

Internationally, commercial space giants such as SpaceX and OneWeb have been racing to develop and construct low-orbiting communication satellite systems.

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