A Long March-11 rocket carrying a tech-experimental satellite as part of the Hongyun Project, a low-orbit broadband communication satellite system, blasts off from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in northwest China at 7:51 a.m. on Dec. 22, 2018. The satellite successfully entered its preset orbit. The successful launch signifies the substantial progress of China in mapping the low-orbit broadband communication satellite system. (Xinhua/Li Jin)
China launched a technology experiment satellite (TES) as part of its Hongyun Project, a low-orbit broadband communication satellite system, on Saturday morning.
A Long March-11 rocket carrying the TES blasted off from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in northwest China at 7:51 a.m., before successfully entering its preset orbit. As the first satellite of the Hongyun Project, the successful launch signifies China's substantial progress in mapping the low-orbit broadband communication satellite system, said the China Aerospace Science and Industry Corporation (CASIC), a state-owned spacecraft developer.
With this TES, China will extend the test and application demonstration of low-orbit space-based Internet technologies, said CASIC.
The mission was the 295th mission of the Long March carrier rocket series, which was developed by the China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation (CASC).
The Hongyun Project is designed to be a low-orbit globe-spanning broadband Internet access network based on a satellite constellation of 156 satellites.
The project features the integration of communication, enhanced low-orbit navigation and verified remote sensing, which are all reliant on space-based Internet access capabilities.
The project is also expected to bring broadband Internet access to remote areas in China, representing a major step for China in applying advanced tech, such as the multi-beam millimeter-wave phased array communication antenna, to the in-orbit test, said CASIC.
Moreover, it represents a major step in China's commercialization and industrialization of space technologies.
After the launch of the first experimental satellite, four more satellites will be launched by 2020 to form a satellite constellation.
By the middle of the 14th Five-Year Plan (2021-2025), all 156 satellites will be capable of meeting stipulated comprehensive operation requirements.
According to its developer, they will be tailored for various kinds of signal receivers such as fixed, portable and vehicle-mounted receivers, in order to meet demands from different users.