According to Deutsche Welle Chinese news report, SpaceX , OneWeb and Amazon ( Amazon ) wants to come out on top three companies in the space, high-speed Internet access. Out of strategic considerations, China also intends to build its own satellite Internet.
In the global competition for high-speed Internet access services in space, China also intends to establish itself as a strong competitive participant. So far, the Starlink project launched by Tesla founder Musk, the British company OneWeb and Amazon Group have competed with each other in this field.
However, if these four companies all send tens of thousands of communication satellites into the sky, it will inevitably cause more and more congestion in the low-Earth orbit.
Jonathan McDowell, an astrophysicist at the Smithsonian Center at Harvard University, warned: “Obviously this is the current situation.” He believes that a large amount of space junk has already been distributed in low earth orbit, and more space junk will be launched now. Communication satellites, which will bring more danger to space flight.
In an interview with Deutsche News Agency, McDowell said: “I think a large-scale collision is inevitable at a certain point in time.” He suggested the establishment of an international space traffic regulatory agency to reduce risks. At the same time, he believes that the total number of satellites should be limited at a certain near-Earth altitude to prevent “overloading” from occurring.
Another problem that cannot be ignored is the light pollution caused by the reflection of sunlight on the satellite solar panels. Light reflections can form bright spots in the night sky, misleading astronauts and stargazers.
On May 28, 36 satellites of the British satellite communications company OneWeb were ignited from the Russian Eastern Space Launch Site on a Russian “Soyuz-2.1b” carrier rocket, and a total of 218 satellites were in orbit. The Starlink program launched by SpaceX has put more than 1,600 satellites into low-Earth orbit, far ahead of competitors. The overall plan for the Kuiper project created by Amazon is to launch 3236 satellites into low-Earth orbit. The advantages of China Satellite Networks Group Co., Ltd. are similar to those of SpaceX in that it has the ability to launch rockets on its own.
Deutsche Welle believes that behind the “China Plan” is a powerful State-owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission. Although it was just established in April this year, China Satellite Networks Group ranked 26th on the State-owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission of the State-owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission’s list of state-owned enterprises, behind China’s three major telecom operators.
In April 2020, the National Development and Reform Commission of China included satellite Internet in the category of “new infrastructure” information infrastructure, and the government invested heavily in support. Last year, China formally submitted two giant satellite constellations to the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), a total of 12,992 broadband communication satellites in 7 groups in 2 phases and applications for the use of orbits and wireless frequency bands. China Caixin.com quoted a scholar as saying, “China’s start in satellite Internet is too slow, and other countries have already taken action. So we can’t wait any longer, after all, the orbit and spectrum resources are limited.”
The advantage of satellite Internet is that it can provide network signals for remote areas and sea areas that are currently not covered by the Internet. In addition, it also has the advantages of high bandwidth and quick installation. But at the same time it also has shortcomings such as long delay time, limited data flow, and being affected by weather.
But in the final analysis, this is about the future of the Internet and the control of the Internet. From a Chinese perspective, it also includes the control of Internet content. Caixin.com quoted Mi Lei, the founding partner of China Science and Technology Star, as saying, “The business model of satellite Internet is not yet mature. But from a strategic point of view, it is a must.” He said: “After we build it, we will examine its commercial value again.”