Advanced Television

China readies Starlink rival

July 5, 2024

By Chris Forrester

A Chinese mega-constellation of an eventual 15,000 low Earth orbiting satellites will start launching in a few weeks. The fleet will rival Starlink in size. The project is backed by Shanghai Spacecom Satellite Technology (Yuanxin Satellite).

The constellation, named G60 Qianfan, will see the first batch of 18 satellites launched around August 5th. Subsequent rocket launches, all handled on Chinese vehicles, will carry between 36 and 54 satellites. This year should see a total of 108 craft launched.

Some 648 satellites will launch by the end of 2025, and there should be a total 1,296 in place by the end of 2027 thus achieving global coverage.

The eventual aim for the fleet is said to have some 15,000 satellites in orbit by the end of 2030. The satellites are reportedly being built by Genesat, a JV between the Chinese Academy of Sciences Shanghai Engineering Center for Microsatellites (CAS SECM) and Shanghai Aerospace Investment Limited (SAIL), a Shanghai Government fund.

The formal notification says the fleet will be launched to 1,160 kms in altitude and thus not conflict with Rivada Space’s transmissions.

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