China’s constellation plans: The Middle Kingdom entering low Earth orbit

Long March-2C rocket from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in northwest China. Credit: Xinhua.

The space sector has been taken by storm with the plethora of low Earth orbit (LEO) broadband constellations being planned. The most noteworthy is likely Starlink, but others such as OneWeb, Telesat Lightspeed, and Amazon’s Kuiper have been making rapid progress. 

Meanwhile, halfway around the world, China has been building up its capabilities in small satellite manufacturing, batch launches, and satellite applications in anticipation of its own LEO broadband constellation(s). While the exact LEO plans of the powers that be in Beijing remain uncertain, we have seen a handful of hints and recent updates that can point us in the direction of momentum.

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About Blaine Curcio

Ten years at the intersection of China and cutting-edge technology, with primary focus on the space and aerospace sectors. Experience in consulting, project management, business development, and getting to the bottom of difficult questions through research and creative thinking.