Tele­com satel­lite sys­tem to en­cir­cle globe

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - FRONT PAGE - By ZHAO LEI zhaolei@chi­

China Aerospace Sci­ence and Tech­nol­ogy Corp plans to build a global real-time com­mu­ni­ca­tions satel­lite net­work by 2020, a se­nior com­pany ex­ec­u­tive said.

Sun Weigang, chief en­gi­neer at the State-owned space gi­ant, said the Hongyan satel­lite sys­tem will be com­posed of 60 small satel­lites op­er­at­ing in low or­bits and 20 ground sta­tions around the world.

The sys­tem will pro­vide a wide range of civil­ian ser­vices such as ground data col­lec­tion and ex­change, ship iden­ti­fi­ca­tion and track­ing, mo­bile broad­cast­ing as well as nav­i­ga­tion sig­nal en­hance­ment, he said.

Its au­to­matic ship iden­ti­fi­ca­tion sys­tem will re­ceive in­for­ma­tion from ships around the globe and help mon­i­tor their sit­u­a­tion. The mo­bile broad­cast­ing func­tion will be able to trans­mit au­dio, video, images and other data. The nav­i­ga­tion sig­nal en­hance­ment de­vices car­ried by Hongyan satel­lites will im­prove the Bei­dou Nav­i­ga­tion Satel­lite Sys­tem’s po­si­tion­ing ac­cu­racy.

“Once the satel­lite net­work is formed, it will ben­e­fit a lot of sec­tors, in­clud­ing marine in­dus­tries, weather fore­cast­ing, trans­porta­tion, en­vi­ron­men­tal pro­tec­tion, ge­o­log­i­cal sur­vey and dis­as­ter pre­ven­tion and re­lief,” Sun said when he an­nounced the plan at the Fourth Aerospace In­ter­na­tion­al­iza­tion Fo­rum in Bei­jing on Fri­day.

The com­pany will also es­tab­lish sev­eral data ap­pli­ca­tion cen­ters in for­eign na­tions to boost the use of the Hongyan sys­tem, ac­cord­ing to Sun.

Though gov­ern­ment­backed pro­grams such as manned space ex­plo­ration and lu­nar mis­sions still dom­i­nate Chi­nese space sci­en­tists’ agenda, they have also started to pay at­ten­tion to the rapid rise in com­mer­cial space ac­tiv­i­ties.

In China, a com­mer­cial space ac­tiv­ity gen­er­ally refers to a space mis­sion paid for by an en­tity other than the Chi­nese gov­ern­ment or mil­i­tary. Ear­lier re­ports quoted ex­perts as pre­dict­ing that by 2020, the mar­ket value of com­mer­cial space ac­tiv­i­ties in China will reach 30 bil­lion yuan ($4.6 bil­lion) per year.

China Aerospace Sci­ence and Tech­nol­ogy Corp founded the com­mer­cial space com­pany Chi­naRocket Co Ltd in Oc­to­ber to tap into the launch mar­ket. The new com­pany says it can carry out var­i­ous launch ser­vices with China’s Long March car­rier rock­ets.

Re­searchers at Chi­naRocket are also de­vel­op­ing a 10-met­ric ton re­us­able space­craft to ferry three to five trav­el­ers to 80 km above the Earth as part of its space tourism pack­age, ac­cord­ing to com­pany man­agers.

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