China launches first of a new “high orbit” internet satellite

China launches first of a new “high orbit” internet satellite

On Thursday, China launched the first of a new series of “high orbit” broadband satellites, ostensibly to supply internet access to China and its environs.

The Long March 3B/G rocket took up on February 29 at 8:03 a.m. Eastern (1303 UTC) from the Xichang Satellite Launch Center in southwest China.

Shortly after takeoff, the China Aerospace Science and Technology Corp. (CASC) declared the launch successful. According to CASC’s statement, High orbit satellite internet-01 (Weixing Hulianwan Gaogui-01) was the previously unknown payload.

According to Aerospace closure notices, a Long March 3B/G launch from Xichang was scheduled for February 29. This suggests that the payload was probably intended for a geosynchronous transfer orbit. High orbit, rather than precisely referring to high Earth orbit (HEO), is used to describe orbits above low Earth orbit in Chinese.

The satellite’s specs were not disclosed in the first official Chinese media reports on the launch. All that CASC disclosed about the satellite was that it was created by the China Academy of Space Technology (CAST), a significant spacecraft manufacturer.

With CASC actively involved in the joint venture, China already operates a series of geostationary communications satellites known as ChinaSat (Zhongxing). In February of last year, ChinaSat-26—the country’s first satellite capable of transmitting over 100 gigabits per second (Gbps)—was launched.

In November, state media outlet Xinhua said that China’s whole territory as well as strategic locations along the “Belt and Road” plan will be covered by the first high orbit internet satellite, which had reached completion.

China Satcom intends to encourage the development of larger single-satellite capacity satellites in the future. According to Xinhua, by the time the “14th Five-Year Plan” ends in 2021–2025, “the total capacity of high-throughput communication satellites will exceed 500 Gbps.”

Notably, China also intends to build two internet satellite constellations in low Earth orbit. These are the G60 Starlink constellations, supported by Shanghai, and the national Guowang initiative. These initiatives might result in contracts for China’s commercial launch service providers and call for an increase in launch rate and capacity.

It was China’s tenth launch of 2024. China plans to launch about 100 times this year, according to information released by CASC this week. About thirty additional launches are planned by commercial launch firms, with CASC aiming for about seventy launches.

Two crewed and two cargo missions to the Tiangong space station are among the major missions. The Queqiao-2 lunar relay satellite is scheduled to launch in the first part of this year. Chang’e-6, the first-ever lunar far side sample return mission, will be supported by that spacecraft.

error: Content is protected !!