What is the News?
China launched its first communication satellite to provide broadband internet services worldwide in an apparent bid to rival Google and other international firms.
The satellite was launched from a Long March 11 carrier rocket from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Centre in north-western China and is the first in the Hongyun project planned by China Aerospace Science and Industry Corp. (CASIC).
What is Hongyun Project?
- The Hongyun project, started in September 2016, aims to build a space-based communications network to provide broadband internet connectivity to users around the world, especially those in the under served regions.
- The spacecraft is tasked with verifying basic designs of Hongyun satellite and demonstrating low-orbit broadband communications technologies.
- When the Hongyun project is complete, it will cover the whole world and offer round-the-clock communication services to users in polar regions also, who now have difficulties accessing telecommunication and internet services, even from on board an aircraft or a ship or in a remote area.
- The Hongyun system will feature lower production and operational costs and fewer occurrences of data transmission delays compared with existing communication satellite networks.
About Hongyun Satellite
- It weights around 247 kilograms, the satellite works in a sun-synchronous orbit about 1,100 kilometres above earth.
- It is powered by solar arrays and has a design life of one year, but is expected to operate longer.
- The satellite is expected to work beyond its design life of one year.
Currently, many foreign tech companies, including Google, SpaceX, OneWeb and Telesat, have already launched plans to use satellites to provide free internet access.
- The U.S.’ SpaceX launched two experimental satellites in November to test technologies for its Starlink project.