"Space internet" development is expected to be a foundation for boosting 6G technology.
Scientists have predicted that 6G technology will go commercial around 2030, and at that time, a space-air-ground integrated information network will be built to meet the communication demands of economic production and daily life.
Satellite networks will be a key part of information communication in space. Other major infrastructure will include various kinds of spacecraft and unmanned aerial vehicles, as well as ground bases.
Operating in geostationary, high-, medium- and low-altitude orbits, the satellites will act as base stations in space.
Yang Zhen, a member of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress and vice chairman of the Chinese Peasants and Workers Democratic Party, said that among satellites, the low-Earth orbit ones have a shorter latency time, larger bandwidth and more easy-to-use satellite and ground terminals than others, making them a favorite for individual mobile satellite communications and giving them a promising commercial future.
He added that several enterprises around the world are now working on low-Earth orbit satellite internet constellations.
One example is the LEO Project, initiated by Elon Musk, CEO of SpaceX. The project includes the launch of 12,000 low-Earth orbit satellites and forms a satellite network. By February 2021, 1,145 satellites had been put into orbit.
China has also launched several satellite internet projects, such as the Hongyun Project, led by the China Aerospace Science and Industry Corporation, which intends to launch 156 satellites, and the Hongyan Project, initiated by the China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation, which plans to launch more than 300 low-Earth orbit satellites.
Yang suggested that China should accelerate the construction of a global low-Earth satellite internet network during the 14th Five-Year Plan (2021-25) period, as the number of orbits and frequency resources in space are limited.
Last but not least, he also pointed out that China still has weaknesses in the development of its space-air-ground integrated network and needs to make more efforts in basic research in fields like chip integration technology and high-precision sensors.
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