China Launches Satellite to Test Internet Tech in Bid to Build Own ‘Starlink’ Network


(Yicai Global) July 10 — China sent a satellite into […]

(Yicai Global) July 10 — China sent a satellite into a predetermined orbit yesterday to test its satellite internet technologies, bringing the country one step closer to making its own low-earth-orbit satellite constellation, to rival that of US space exploration firm SpaceX’s Starlink.

The satellite was launched by a Long March-2C carrier rocket from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in northwest Gansu province, according to Xinhua News Agency. It will carry out test missions for satellite internet technologies.

The launch of the satellite makes a lot of sense as it indicates that China has begun experimenting with low-earth-orbit satellite internet, Liao Yunfa, director of the east China branch of the China Academy of Information and Communications Technology, told Yicai Global. This also means that China’s layout in six-generation communications has expanded from ground base stations to space, he added.

Elon Musk’s SpaceX was the first to come up with the idea of providing low-cost satellite internet globally through a low-earth-orbit satellite constellation. The Starlink project was approved to deploy 12,000 satellites in near-Earth orbit between 2019 and 2024.

Not to be outdone, China, which runs one of the most ambitious space programs in the world, set up the China Satellite Network Group in April 2021 in Xiong’an New Area, northern Hebei province to spearhead the development of the country’s satellite internet.

Communication technology will evolve towards low-earth-orbit satellites, and in the next three to five years or even five to ten years, hardware and networking technology used by Starlink-like projects will do well, said Li Yinliang, general manager of HCH Ventures, a venture capital platform under Chinese home appliance giant Haier Group.

Sixth-generation communications are expected to achieve technological standardization in the second half of 2025, start producing equipment in the second half of 2028 and enter the commercial era in 2030, according to a timetable proposed at a meeting of the International Telecommunication Union.

Editors: Dou Shicong, Kim Taylor

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