China launches first of its kind satellite to rival US

China launches first of its kind satellite to rival US

BEIJING - China on Saturday launched its first communication satellite to provide broadband internet services worldwide in an apparent bid to rival Google and other international firms.

The satellite was launched from a Long March 11 carrier rocket from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Centre in north-western China and is the first in the Hongyun project planned by China Aerospace Science and Industry Corp (CASIC).

The Hongyun project, started in September 2016, aims to build a space-based communications network to provide broadband internet connectivity to users around the world, especially those in the underserved regions.

The spacecraft is tasked with verifying basic designs of Hongyun satellite and demonstrating low-orbit broadband communications technologies, state-run China Daily reported.

The satellite is expected to work beyond its design life of one year.

"Weighing 247 kilograms, the satellite works in a sun-synchronous orbit about 1,100 kilometers above earth. It is powered by solar arrays and has a design life of one year, but is expected to operate longer, Xiang Kaiheng, Hongyun's chief designer at CASIC Space Engineering Development Co Ltd here said.

CASIC plans to launch four mass-production Hongyun satellites in future.