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China begins space-based broadband project

China launched a communications satellite on Saturday, marking the start of construction of a vast space-based communications network capable of covering the entire world with broadband internet service.

The first satellite in the Hongyun project, which was planned by China Aerospace Science and Industry Corp (CASIC) to be the country’s first low-orbit broadband communications satellite constellation, was launched on Saturday at 7:51 am on a Long March 11 carrier rocket at the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in northwestern China.

The spacecraft is tasked with verifying basic designs of Hongyun satellite and demonstrating low-orbit broadband communications technologies.

Its main payloads are Ka-band transponders and transmission antennae. It also carries several scientific and technical devices to explore Hongyun system’s applications in scientific research, environmental survey as well as air and sea transportation, CASIC said in a statement.

Globally, the concept of running a low-cost, high-performance satellite network to provide space-based communications and internet services has become popular among industry players.


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