The head of China Aerospace Science & Industry Corporation (CASIC) on Wednesday said, China is gearing up to construct the country’s first constellation of very-low-Earth-orbit (VLEO) satellites, with the maiden launch scheduled for this September.
Song Xiaoming, head of the Second Institute of CASIC stated that the launch will verify and demonstrate key technologies such as VLEO flight, high-resolution Earth imaging, intelligent processing, and direct transmission of information to user terminals.
VLEO stands for an altitude range of 150 to 300 kilometers from the Earth. Satellites in this range, called VLEO satellites, are cheaper and transmit data more efficiently than satellites at higher altitudes. This makes it possible to make many satellites at once and launch them in large groups. Song says VLEO satellites have these advantages.
They can respond quickly to natural disasters and other emergencies, acquiring high-resolution images in a short period of time, thus improving the capability of information acquisition.
To achieve the goal, CASIC will build a satellite constellation to operate at VLEO to reach a performance level rivaling traditional orbital satellite systems, at offering lower costs and offering faster responses.
Song further mentioned that this will also support the constellation construction with rapid batch manufacturing and launch capabilities.