Last month, state media reported that China will start making satellites to provide 5G coverage. They are planning to build about thousand satellites within the next three months. The first to report the news was South China Morning Post.
The first of six batches of communication satellites, which are to be of lower cost but of high-performance quality, were produced. They were subsequently tested and brought to the launch site which is undisclosed till now. Chinese state news agency, ‘Xinhua’ had reported in the last week of January.
The company, ‘GalaxySpace’ has taken charge of the project and aims to extend the coverage of China 5G network around the world. Their main agenda is to take on ‘Starlink‘ which is owned by Elon Musk’s SpaceX in the US. GalaxySpace is targeting to enter the market of high-speed internet networks from remote areas, particularly.
However, the Chinese constellation is planning to start off small with 1,000 satellites. This is in comparison to SpaceX’s Starlink which already has about 2,000 satellites. Additionally, Starlink aims to expand its satellites in the orbit to 42,000 as it completes the network.
Nevertheless, despite it being 1,000 satellite smaller, it would be the first Chinese network to use this technology of 5G network. They would be second in line after Starlink, if not at par.
Scientists working on the upcoming project have guaranteed download speeds of higher than 500 megabytes per second. This will be along with a low latency which will be a notable advantage in regards to demanding applications like financial trading.
Again, this would be as opposed to Starlink, which provides a download speed of up to only 110 megabytes per second for public use. Moreover, despite it using a different technology, they can potentially offer 6G services later in the future. Beijing currently identifies Starlink as a threat to the national security of China.
A space engineer in the China Academy of Space Technology, Zhu Kaiding is a part of the project of GalaxySpace. He stated that they are struggling to keep pace with Musk’s Starlink for they are producing almost six satellites a day.
Two of Chinese public space contractors have launched their own global internet service programmes. The China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation and China Aerospace Science and Industry Corporation have come up with ‘Hongyan’ and ‘Hongyun’.
Though smaller than Starlink in scale, the have 325 and 156 satellites in their constellations respectively. They aim to operate at distinct orbiting heights and help China claim more of the space resources that are diminishing.
For now, China, most likely, will not launch something as big as Starlight. This is because two constellations at such a low orbit could be prone to accidents.