Technology Jun 17

Chinese firm plans to launch 10,000 AI satellites

National Star Aerospace has completed six space missions and launched nine satellites run via artificial intelligence, but it wants a network of 10,000 satellites allegedly for internet capacity

by Chris Gill
Chinese firm plans to launch 10,000 AI satellites
A model satellite is on display at the Satellite 2020 Exhibition at Walter E. Washington Convention Center in Washington DC on March 10, 2020. Photo: Yasin Ozturk / Anadolu Agency via AFP

(ATF) Elon Musk’s plan to launch thousands of satellites – to provide new higher-speed internet connections across the world – appears to have inspired a rival company in China to do the same.  

A private satellite internet company in China has announced plans similar to the South African inventor and entrepreneur.

National Star Aerospace (Guoxing Yuhang) has announced that it wants to launch 10,000 satellites within 10 years.

The firm, which was founded in May 2018, has government support and the people who set the company up are a mixture of figures from the satellite and application fields from universities, research institutes, industry and the military.

The company successfully developed and launched the world's first satellite that runs on AI, artificial intelligence. As of December 2019, it had successfully completed six space missions and has now developed and launched nine AI satellites, it said.

A few days ago, when participating at the 2020 China Digital Economy Investment and Financing "Cloud Road Show", National Star Aerospace chairman Lu Chuan announced the company's satellite plan – to launch 10,000 satellites in 10 years.

However, he did not give much more detail and further information is sparse.

Currently, more than 90% of the data services provided by National Star Aerospace comes from its own satellites and it aims to have all its services from them by the end of this year.

The company said it has developed THz inter-satellite network technology based on AI. National Star Aerospace has also launched a nationwide mapping application in cooperation with Chinese authorities to track coronavirus cases called the ‘quick check’ system.

Late last year China Long March Rocket Co Ltd, affiliated to the First Institute of China Aerospace Science and Technology Group Co Ltd, held a press conference about the "Dragon" series of launch vehicles in Beijing.

At the press event, the Chinese Rocket Company officially launched the development and future launch plan of the "Jielong" solid commercial launch vehicles and the "Tenglong" liquid commercial launch vehicle series.

On behalf of the company, Dr Hongjie Zhao, the senior vice president of National Star Aerospace, signed a bulk purchase agreement for a launch service by the Jielong No.1 rocket with China Rocket Company. It aims to carry out comprehensive cooperation in the future satellite launch services.