China announces ambitious plans for commercial space sector


The seventh China Aerospace Business Forum opened in Wuhan, central China’s Hubei Province, on November 25. Photo: Courtesy of CASIC

China announced a number of ambitious plans for the country’s commercial space sector at the seventh China Commercial Aerospace Forum which opened Thursday in Wuhan, central China’s Hubei province.

Highlights include the rollout of a new remote sensing constellation program, the next step in setting up China’s Internet of Things (IoT) project in space, and arrangements for the Kuaizhou 1A launcher for commercial space flights.

At the forum, state-owned space giant China Aerospace Science & Industry Corp (CASIC) announced that it will build a real-time remote sensing constellation project aimed at rapid global coverage and capable of accessing data in any weather and at any time to serve various scenarios, namely disaster relief, ecological protection, traffic monitoring and natural resource management.

Once commissioned, it will dramatically improve the usability of satellite remote sensing technology, enabling it to support national defense, emergency response, social governance and other areas, CASIC’s Global Times learned Thursday. .

China’s next-generation IoT project, codenamed Xingyun-2, which will consist of 80 satellites aimed at providing a solution to today’s “communication blind spots”, was also showcased at the event as a key project. of CASIC.

The first stage of construction was practically completed this year with the launch of two Xingyun-2 satellites which have verified a number of basic technologies and carried out tests in various fields of application.

For the second phase, preparations for the first six satellites are underway in an orderly fashion, and a total of 12 satellites from this phase are expected to be launched by 2022, the Global Times has learned.

After the second phase is completed, China and its surrounding regions can receive satellite communication service every 30 minutes, providing users with space IoT services and solutions covering more than ten applications.

The progress would mark a major leap from the project’s “runtime test” to “practical use”, the developers said.

The forum also elaborated on the arrangements for the Kuaizhou 1A carrier rocket, which on the same day of the event took off from the Jiuquan satellite launch center and successfully placed an experimental satellite into a predefined orbit.

The Kuaizhou 1A is a low-cost solid-fuel carrier rocket with high reliability and a short readiness period and is designed to launch low-orbit satellites weighing less than 300 kilograms.

Since its debut in January 2017, the rocket has flown 11 commercial flight missions, sending 21 satellites into orbit. In the midst of an intensive launch period of around six months from September 2021, it is expected to complete 10 launches.

The Shenzhou-13 flight crew sent their best wishes to the forum on Thursday morning, noting that the forum provided an effective communication platform for practitioners in the commercial space.


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