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Russia, China want LEO satellite constellation

There are now a handful of ‘Western’ Low Earth and Medium Earth satellite constellations either in use or in the planning and development stage.  Russia and China are talking about building their own system.

The current constellations include O3b (a MEO system), and LEO systems from the Iridium sat-phone vehicles, and Globalstar, Orbcomm and RapidEye+.  Russia already operates its own ‘Glonass’ GPS system independently of the West’s sat-nav craft, as do the Chinese.

Major new constellations are being proposed by OneWeb, a 700-satellite scheme backed in part by Sir Richard Branson, and there’s been much talk about systems from Google and Elon Musk’s SpaceX.

Now it is reported that Russia is looking to cooperate with China to supply a fleet of LEO satellites which will handle broadband capacity as well as providing bandwidth for future Internet of Things and Machine-to-Machine connectivity.

The system is called the “Star of Happiness” according to Russian news agency RIA Novosti, and the first pair of meetings have already taken place. Director General of Information Satellite Systems Nikolay Testoedov told RIA Novosti that the proposal is planning “more than one hundred satellites”. 

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