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China to launch constellation with 72 satellites for Internet of Things

July 3

A research institute of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) has announced a constellation program, planning to launch 72 small satellites for the Internet of Things in the next three years.

The program will be implemented by Beijing-based private satellite company "Commsat," which was funded by the Xi'an Institute of Optics and Precision Mechanics under the CAS. A total of eight communication satellites of the program were sent into space last year for in-orbit tests.

The company plans to initiate the commercial use of the program in 2020 with a launch of another four satellites, and to complete a global deployment of the constellation of 72 low-earth orbit satellites by the end of 2022.

These satellites will serve different segments including wildlife protection, field emergency rescue, vehicle and ship monitoring and logistics tracing, a CAS source said.

In February 2018, the company launched a satellite called Young Pioneer 1, an education satellite that provides students of primary and secondary schools with experiences like wireless communication and space photography.

Last December, seven small satellites called the "ladybeetle series" manufactured by the company were sent into space. They are used to test a closed-loop system for the Internet of Things, which includes satellites, cloud computing platforms, ground control stations and terminals.