China Advances IoT Ambitions with Successful Sea Launch of Four Satellites

China Advances IoT Ambitions with Successful Sea Launch of Four Satellites

China has successfully launched four satellites from the sea, marking a significant milestone in its efforts to complete its first Internet of Things (IoT) constellation in low Earth orbit by the end of the year.

The Tianqi 25-28 satellites were launched at 4.12pm local time on a Ceres-1S rocket from a mobile platform off the coast of Shandong province, according to an announcement by Galactic Energy.

The completed Tianqi constellation will consist of 38 small satellites, designed to enhance data connectivity through smart devices and offer global coverage along with near real-time data transmission services. These services will be available to government, industrial, and individual users, as stated by Guodian Gaoke, the Beijing-based satellite company responsible for the constellation’s development and operation.

Lu Qiang, CEO of Guodian Gaoke, highlighted the current applications of the existing Tianqi satellites, which include emergency communications and rescue operations, environmental protection and monitoring, and the transport of hazardous chemicals. Looking ahead, the company aims to extend its services to additional areas such as outdoor emergency response and military applications.

The Tianqi system’s terminal equipment is notable for its small size, low cost, and low power consumption. The smallest terminal measures just 3.5 cm across, and production costs have fallen below 1000 yuan (approximately US$138). The latest batch of Tianqi satellites is distinguished by high-stability and high-speed data communication capabilities, providing 10-minute global coverage, as detailed on the company’s WeChat account.

This launch represents the second time Galactic Energy has deployed Tianqi satellites for Guodian Gaoke. Previously, in September, the Tianqi 21-24 satellites were launched into an 800km orbit from a sea platform near Shandong.

The Ceres-1S rocket, a four-stage solid-fuel launch vehicle, is an adaptation of Galactic Energy’s Ceres-1 model tailored for sea launches. It is capable of launching smaller payloads into low and medium Earth orbits, and it can adapt to various launching and landing areas, enhancing the flexibility and efficiency of satellite deployment.

These advancements underscore China’s growing capabilities and ambitions in space technology, particularly in building robust and versatile satellite constellations to support a wide range of applications.

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