WiFi satellite | CCTV via REUTERS
China’s first private WiFi satellite met the public in Shanghai on Tuesday.
The satellite “LinkSure No.1,” independently developed by LinkSure Network, a Shanghai-based mobile internet unicorn company specializing in free internet access, will be launched into space together with the Long March rocket from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in northwest China in 2019.
The company also launched its satellite network program — “LinkSure Swarm Constellation System,” which aims to provide free satellite network around the globe in 2026.
Compared with the already existing networks, the system will be more helpful for areas that are uncovered by Internet.
“There are still many places in the world still uncovered by the Internet. According to information released by the United Nations last year, 3.9 billion users had no access to the Internet by the end of 2017. The Earth has many different terrains like ocean or dessert, where Internet infrastructure cannot be constructed, so we got the idea of developing such satellites,” said Wang Jingying, CEO of LinkSure Networks.
The system plans to launch the first 10 WiFi satellites in 2020. The entire system, consisting of 272 satellites of different orbits at different heights, will finally cover the whole world.
Wang said it is costly to launch so many satellites, but what the LinkSure Networks eyes is the broad application prospect of the system in communication, navigation, environment monitoring and other areas.
“Such a satellite plan is actually very costly in the early stage. Our own budget is three billion yuan (about 431 million U.S. dollars). We believe it will pay off, with many scenes, many applications and different modes,” said Wang.
Wang’s view was echoed by Huang Zhicheng, an aerospace technology expert.
“Aerospace programs have high risks and need big investment. Programs that you can see return in three to five years are very few. So patience is very important,” said Huang. — Reuters