China's first smart manufacturing plant for satellites went into operation in Hubei's provincial capital, Wuhan, on Thursday morning. According to Lyu Dongming, chairman of CASIC Space Engineering Development and owner of the plant, the site is able to produce as many as 240 satellites annually.
The first one to be made at the plant rolled off the assembly line at a commencement ceremony attended by project managers and officials from central and provincial government.
The communications satellite, which has yet to be named, is expected to be launched in the near future.
The plant is able to produce multiple types of small satellite, each weighing less than 1 metric ton. According to Lyu, the plant will substantially improve his company's manufacturing efficiency, and save much time and manpower.
CASIC is a Wuhan-based subsidiary of State-owned defense giant, China Aerospace Science and Industry Corp, and is tasked with developing, making and operating satellites.
Construction of the plant at the Wuhan National Space Industry Base in Xinzhou district, the country's first commercial space industry hub, began in 2019. It was completed in December 2020, and trial operations started soon after.
In addition to the satellite plant, China Aerospace Science and Industry Corp has also built a manufacturing complex for its Kuaizhou-series carrier rockets at the 68.8-square-kilometer commercial space industry base. The rocket factory has begun first-phase operations, with an initial production capacity of 20 Kuaizhou-series rockets a year.