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China has announced plans to build an array of 10,000 satellites

Natasha Kumar By Natasha Kumar May28,2024

China published plans to create an array of 10,000 satellites

A Chinese firm associated with commercial rocket maker Landspace has submitted an application to the ITU for an array of 10,000 satellites. Shanghai Lanjian Hongqing Technology Company, also known as Hongqing Technology, filed a preliminary publication information (API) with the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) on May 24.  The document describes plans to create a constellation called Honghu-3. In total, these are 10,000 satellites on 160 orbital planes. 

An API application notifies the ITU and Member States of the intention to launch a satellite network or system. Others may then review the proposed satellite network to assess any potential interference with their existing or planned satellite systems.

The Honghu Constellation Plan appears to be the third mega-constellation of over 10,000 satellites planned by Chinese entities. . It follows the national Guowang plan and the Shanghai-backed G60 Starlink proposal, both of which have been approved by China's National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC). The first batches of satellites for this pair are expected to be launched in the coming months.

The development is likely to renew concerns about crowding, collisions and debris in low Earth orbit. Currently, SpaceX's Starlink is the largest operational constellation with more than 5,000 active satellites and plans to put up to 42,000 spacecraft into orbit. /h2>

Founded in 2017, Hongqing Technology has a 48% stake in Beijing Landspace. The Shanghai company was originally recognized for developing the Hall engine technology. The company is building a satellite manufacturing plant in Wuxi, Jiangsu Province, not far from Shanghai. At the time of publication, the source of funding for Hongqing Technology's plans was unclear.

The company's Jinwu-200 (JW-200) krypton-fueled Hall effect engine was tested on the Honghu-2 satellite launched by the Landspace Zhuque-2  last December. The satellite was developed jointly with the manufacturer of small satellites Spacety.

Hongqing Technology is based in Shanghai's Songjiang district and is involved in plans to develop satellite internet in the area, which is also home to G60 Starlink. G60 Starlink has submitted separate applications for its constellation plans.

The developments are related to the Shanghai Action Plan for the Development of a Commercial Space Ecosystem. It is also part of China's national strategy to build a world-leading satellite Internet system and comprehensive space power.

Earlier, China announced a national plan for an integrated space information network (SGIIN). It aims to create an integrated system that combines communications, remote sensing, navigation, weather and other satellite capabilities.

Landspace, meanwhile, is developing a reusable stainless steel methane-oxygen plant called Zhuque-3. The 4.5-meter-diameter rocket should be capable of carrying 21,000 kilograms into low-Earth orbit if deployed. Its first launch is scheduled for 2025. The company has already conducted the first vertical takeoff and vertical landing (VTVL) tests.

Landspace, like other commercial Chinese rocket startups Space Pioneer, Galactic Energy, iSpace and others, are planning to launch satellites for planned megaconstellations’ China. Currently, China is building a commercial spaceport near Wenchang to ease the bottleneck in access to launch pads. This will be needed so that China can increase the launch rate to build its mega-constellations.

Natasha Kumar

By Natasha Kumar

Natasha Kumar has been a reporter on the news desk since 2018. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining The Times Hub, Natasha Kumar worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my natasha@thetimeshub.in 1-800-268-7116

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