China launches 2 satellites for IoT project

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China on Tuesday sent two satellites into orbit to test the space-based Internet of Things (IoT) communications technology.

The satellites, Xingyun-2 01 and 02, were launched by a Kuaizhou-1A (KZ-1A) carrier rocket at 9:16 a.m. (Beijing Time) from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in northwest China. They have successfully entered their planned orbit.

Developed by the Xingyun Satellite Co., the satellites will conduct tests on technologies including space-based IoT communications, inter-satellite laser communications and a low-cost commercial satellite platform.

They will also carry out initial pilot IoT applications, according to the company.

KZ-1A is a low-cost solid-fuel carrier rocket featuring high orbit precision and a short preparation period. The rocket, developed by a company affiliated with Sanjiang Group under the China Aerospace Science and Industry Corporation (CASIC), is mainly used to launch low-orbit small satellites.

Tuesday's launch was the ninth mission of the KZ-1A carrier rocket.

The launch also represented new progress of the CASIC's series commercial space projects, which include the Feiyun, Kuaiyun, Xingyun, Hongyun and Tengyun projects and the supersonic speed HyperFlight project, according to the CASIC.

The Xingyun project is China's first self-developed space-based IoT constellation.

By around 2023, the Xingyun project will have completed construction of the space-based IoT constellation with 80 low-orbit communication satellites.

The project is anticipated to solve problems of the IoT businesses' communication blind zone as a result of deficient coverage of cellular wireless communication networks.

The Xingyun-2 01 and 02 satellites adopt the technology of inter-satellite laser links, which enables the in-orbit satellites to communicate over long distance and hence upgrade the real-time performance of communication services. 

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