Innovations in Space: Chinese satellite mega-constellations

This next installment of the Innovations in Space series provides an overview of the current development of Chinese mega-constellations. We specifically examine the status quo, anticipated future developments, and necessary steps for co-existence with other constellations.

Mega-constellations — satellite systems comprised of more than 150 non-geostationary orbit satellites — promise to deliver broadband internet interconnectivity on a global scale. Leading systems in the United States and Europe, including SpaceX’s 4,408 satellite Starlink System and Amazon’s 3,236 satellite Kuiper System, have received much attention in Western media but China is not standing still and has recently taken meaningful steps to launch mega-constellations of its own. 

Four publicly-known Chinese mega-constellation projects are currently underway, all backed, at least in part, by state agencies or state-owned enterprises. As the United States continues to distance itself from Russia (through use of economic sanctions and other legislation) it may be pushing China and Russia to further collaborate, marrying Russian operational knowledge with Chinese technology and funding.

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Authored by Trey Hanbury, Tommy Liu, George John, Randy Segal, and Steven Kaufman. 

Contacts
Trey Hanbury
Partner
Washington, D.C.
Tommy Liu
Counsel
Hong Kong
George John
Associate
Washington, D.C.
Randy Segal
Partner
Northern Virginia
Steven Kaufman
Partner
Washington, D.C.

 

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