China is striving to develop laser communication technology, which is a key component of space-based information networks.
In a recent development, the country has launched its first bidirectional laser communication terminal into space for technological demonstration.
The experimental terminal was developed by HiStarlink, a private laser communication company located in Shenzhen, Guangdong Province. It was jointly built by HiStarlink and satellite manufacturer AdaSpace in Chengdu, Sichuan Province, and carried by Satellite Time Platform 20.
Xingshitai 20 is one of the nine satellites launched on Saturday morning along the coast of Yangjiang, Guangdong.
The rocket was launched from a launch service ship at 11:07 am and quickly deployed the satellite to its designated orbital position.
The maximum transmission speed of the laser device is 10 gigabits per second. Its designer stated that its task is to verify several key technologies of laser communication, and explained that the characteristics of laser communication are large transmission capacity, long coverage range, and high security.
"Laser communication is an irreplaceable component of any space-based information network. It is very difficult to use laser beams to transmit data between satellites and Earth, and has always been a hot topic in the international aerospace community," said Tan Jun, founder and CEO of HiStarlink.
With our technology, we can make the transmission speed of the terminal as fast as 100 gigabits per second, but we have decided to increase it to 10 gigabits per second because in most cases, this speed is already sufficient for users and the cost is much lower.
"In the near future, laser communication terminals will become the backbone of LEO Internet satellite networks," he said on Friday.
Saturday's mission is the third space launch from the South China Sea. This is also the first time Smart Dragon 3 has launched a foreign satellite - NExSat-1, one of the nine satellites, is an experimental spacecraft built by the Egyptian National Remote Sensing and Space Science Agency and the German company Berlin Space Technology.
Smart Dragon 3 is a solid propellant rocket model. This model is 31 meters tall, 2.65 meters in diameter, and can carry a lifting weight of 140 tons. It is mainly propelled by solid propellant engines, which can accommodate 71 tons of propellant and generate 200 tons of thrust.
This rocket is capable of sending multiple satellites with a total weight of 1.5 tons to a typical sun synchronous orbit at an altitude of 500 kilometers.
Smart Dragon 3 made its first flight from a ship in the Yellow Sea in December 2022, sending 14 satellites into orbit. Its second mission was conducted in December last year in the waters near Yangjiang, becoming the first sea-based rocket launched from the South China Sea.
According to rocket project manager Jin Xin, Smart Dragon 3 is suitable for customers who want to quickly launch a large number of satellites to establish a space-based commercial network as soon as possible.
China has conducted 10 sea based launches, including 5 Long March 11 rockets, 3 Intelligent Dragon 3 rockets, 1 Ceres 1 rocket from Beijing's private company Galaxy Energy, and 1 Gravity 1 rocket from another private company in Beijing, Orientspace.
Source: Laser Net