China’s Geespace Rockets Ahead in Satellite Deployment for Low Earth Orbit

In a bid to strengthen its position in the competitive arena of low-Earth orbit, Geespace, a subsidiary of Zhejiang Geely Holding Group Co., successfully launched eleven communications satellites on Saturday. The Long March CZ-2C rocket took off from the Xichang Satellite Launch Center in Sichuan province, marking Geespace’s second foray into satellite deployment after an initial launch of nine satellites in mid-2022.

The communications satellites, part of Geespace’s ambitious plans, aim to form a network 600 kilometers above Earth. This network has future applications, including linking to driverless cars and supporting various features in Geely vehicles. The broader vision also involves providing connectivity for consumer electronics, aligning with the evolving demands of China’s competitive auto market.

Geespace’s CEO, Tony Wang, envisions a future where satellite functionality becomes a standard feature in every car and consumer device. The company’s satellite communication technology is already integrated into several Geely group electric vehicles, showcasing its commitment to staying at the forefront of technological innovation in the automotive industry.

Despite China’s notable strides in space exploration, particularly with Mars landings and lunar missions, Geespace, as a private-sector entity, stands out in the low-Earth orbit domain. The recent launch is part of the company’s larger plan to deploy a 72-satellite constellation by next year, representing a considerable undertaking that involves network establishment, on-the-ground infrastructure, and the commercialization of cloud services.

Geespace’s founder and Chairman, Li Shufu, who also holds a nearly 10% stake in Mercedes-Benz Group AG, demonstrates the diversified interests of the Geely group. Geely, as China’s third-largest auto exporter in 2021, is leveraging its satellite communication technology to enhance its global standing, with plans to offer services worldwide.

Wang emphasizes the significance of satellite communication in the evolving landscape of technology, predicting a shift from 5G to 6G and highlighting the pivotal role of satellite communications and navigation networks in the emerging sectors of self-driving electric vehicles and the Internet of Things (IoT).

As Geespace navigates the complexities of space infrastructure, it faces stiff competition from established players like SpaceX, which currently operates over 5,300 satellites in low-Earth orbit. The challenge for Geespace lies in meeting its ambitious goals while contending with the rapid advancements in the space industry and the demand for cutting-edge satellite communication services.

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