China launched its First Satellite for Space-based Broadband Services

China has launched its first communication satellite on 22nd December 2018 to offer broadband internet services to users worldwide. The communication satellite was launched using a Long March 11 carrier rocket which took off from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Centre in north-western China.  It is CASIC’s (China Aerospace Science and Industry Corporation) first satellite launch under China’s Hongyun project. The satellite aims to rival Google and other companies which have similar plans for providing Internet services worldwide.

Hongyun Project

China started the Hongyun project in September 2016. Under this project, China plans to give broadband internet connectivity to users all over the world by building a space-based communications network. The project also seeks to take the Internet connectivity to the underserved regions of the world. CASIC will be placing than 150 Hongyun satellites on orbits about 1,000 km above the ground around 2023 and can be expanded as per the demand. It is to be noted that CASIC is the main contractor for Chinese space programs and a state-owned company.
A number of tech companies have already launched space-based broadband plans to provide free internet access that includes Google, SpaceX, OneWeb and Telesat.
The U.S.’ SpaceX launched Starlink project aims to put around 12,000 satellites in the space by the mid-2020s. A U.S. firm, OneWeb, will be launching a  constellation of 648 low-Earth orbit microsatellites by the end of 2019 to provide broadband services. A Chinese plans to launch a constellation of 272 satellites to provide free WiFi service worldwide.

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