Home News Chinese group Zhejiang Geely launches first nine low-orbit satellites for autonomous vehicle...

Chinese group Zhejiang Geely launches first nine low-orbit satellites for autonomous vehicle navigation

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GeeSAT-1 satellites, designed and developed by the company, were launched from the Xichang Satellite Launch Center in southwestern Sichuan Province.

Geely said it expects another 63 satellites to be in orbit by 2025, and plans to have a constellation of 240 eventually.

With the launch of the satellites, Geely becomes the second largest carmaker to have an allied space company.

SpaceX, owned by Tesla CEO Elon Musk, has more than 2,000 satellites in orbit for its Starlink network, which provides commercial Internet services.

Starlink plans to have a first-generation network of 4,408 satellites.

While SpaceX uses its own rockets to launch its satellites, Geely used a Long March 2C rocket, developed and operated by a Chinese state entity, to launch the nine satellites.

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In addition to providing high-precision positioning support for self-driving cars, Geely said its network will serve other commercial functions, such as providing communication services at the September Asian Games.

The satellites have a lifespan of five years and will disintegrate into the Earth’s atmosphere without leaving any space debris, the company added.

China’s satellite networks are dominated by the military, but the government began allowing private investment in the country’s space industry in 2014. Since then, commercial companies, some backed by local governments, have rushed to get involved in the sector. focusing on the manufacture of satellites and the rest trying to build small launch vehicles, including reusable missiles.

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In its latest five-year plan for 2021-2025, Beijing has called for an integrated satellite network for communications, remote sensing and navigation. China currently has more than 400 satellites in space, including commercial satellites, according to state media.

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