China's Hongyan satellite constellation plan to undergo major change: source
Published: Apr 20, 2021 01:00 AM
Photo:People's Daily

File Photo: People's Daily

The Chinese authorities in charge of the Hongyan project, China's satellite constellation and part of the nation's "new infrastructure" projects, say the project might undergo major changes according to the report from domestic news outlet published on Monday.

"As we understand, relevant Chinese authorities are making overall planning about China's satellite constellation construction including the Hongyan and Hongyun projects. The Hongyan project might undergo major changes," said Ge Yujun, President of China Spacesat Co Ltd, a company based in China mainly engaged in research, manufacture and application of satellites.

The Hongyan satellite constellation is China's national commercial aerospace project with the largest investment. It mainly relied on China Spacesat for construction and operation while planning was done by the China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation (CASC). 

A 20-billion-yuan investment in the first phase was expected to build a communication network composed of 60 satellites in 2022. The second phase is expected to be completed in 2025 with hundreds of satellites to build a mobile communications network that integrates sea, land, sky and space, according to Xinhua News Agency.

The satellite constellation is comprised of hundreds of low earth orbit (LEO) satellites and a global data processing center.

In December 2018, China successfully sent six atmospheric environment research satellites and a test communication satellite into orbit. The test satellite, the first for the Hongyan constellation, was used to verify the function of mobile communications in LEO.

The Hongyun project, designed by the China Aerospace Science and Industry Corporation Ltd (CASIC), the second ,most important space contractor after CASC, was the country's first low-orbit broadband communications satellite constellation.

Satellite internet is a new direction in the aerospace field and many domestic companies are developing related industries.

The US has been on a faster path in the layout of satellite internet over recent years.

The Starlink internet service by SpaceX, a company founded by Elon Musk, might soon complete its setup, according to US media reports. Musk has said that the Starlink internet service should be fully mobile later this year.

"We understand that this is an opportunity for the company's development. At the same time, due to the large number of participants which led to challenges and rising competition, China Spacesat has been actively following and tracking the progress of satellite internet. While giving full play to our traditional advantages, we will strive to grasp the construction of satellite communication space-based systems," Ge said.