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CASIC launches first satellite in Hongyun project

Updated: 2018-12-27

The first satellite in the Hongyun project was launched at 7:51 am on Dec 22 at the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center.

Planned by China Aerospace Science and Industry Corp (CASIC), the satellite will be part of the country's first low-orbit broadband communications satellite constellation, marking the start of construction of a low-orbit broadband communication satellite system and the first step for building a space-based internet service.


The first satellite in the Hongyun project was launched at 7:51 am on Dec 22 at the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center. [Photo/sasac.gov.cn]

The satellite is tasked with verifying basic designs of the Hongyun project and demonstrating low-orbit broadband communications technologies. It adopts the millimeter wave phased array technology into a low-orbit broadband communication satellite for the first time, which can offer more flexible service modes by using dynamic beams.

More follow-up experiment and application demonstrations of low-orbit space-based internet services will be carried out.

Due to environmental factors like deserts, mountains and oceans, part of the world's population have no access to the internet. The Hongyun project aims to tackle this problem.

According to planning, the Hongyun project will place 156 satellites in orbit at an altitude of about 1,000 kilometers, hoping to build a global broadband mobile internet and provide connectivity to users in China and around the world, especially those in underdeveloped regions.


The photo shows the track that the satellite left behind when it was launched on Dec 22. [Photo/sasac.gov.cn]

The Hongyun project is scheduled to complete constellation satellite placement around 2022. When it is qualified for full operation, the project will offer a seamless broadband mobile communication service globally and set up a comprehensive information platform for various users.

Upon its completion, users will be able to enjoy the same Internet speed and service in a desert, on an ocean or in a plane as they can at home.

The CASIC-implemented Hongyun project aims to set up a vast space-based communications network that can provide low-orbit broadband Internet service worldwide and realize low-orbit navigation enhancement and diversified remote sensing based on space-based internet access capability.

The whole project is divided into three phases: the first phase will launch the first satellite at the end of 2018; the second will launch four operational test satellites at the end of the 13th Five-Year Plan (2016-20); the third will complete the construction of the fully-operational space-earth integration system by the middle of the 14th Five-Year Plan (2021-25).

Currently, the Hongyun project is progressing at an internationally advanced level.

On Mar 3, 2017, the Tiankun-1 technology demonstration satellite, developed by the CASIC, was launched, signaling that CASIC is independently capable of developing all kinds of typical space craft.

(Executive editor: Li Shuling)

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