Geely launches satellites for self-driving cars
Geely launches satellites for self-driving cars


China's Geely Holdings Group has successfully launched satellites for the first time, sending nine satellites into low Earth orbit while building a satellite network to enable more accurate navigation for autonomous vehicles.

GeeSpace, a subsidiary of the Geely Group, uses its constellation of satellites primarily to research and verify technologies such as smart car-connected travel services, vehicle interaction, mobile phones and satellites. It also provides data support to protect the marine environment.

The self-designed and manufactured GeeSAT-1 satellite was launched from the Xichang Satellite Launch Center in southwestern Sichuan Province.

Geely said it expects to have 63 satellites in orbit by 2025. It plans to have 240 satellites.

After its launch, Geely became the second car maker working in the aerospace field. SpaceX is owned by Tesla CEO Elon Musk, and Starlink's commercial Internet services network has more than 2,000 satellites in orbit. Starlink plans to acquire a network of 4,408 satellites.

SpaceX is using its own rockets to launch satellites, while Geely will launch nine satellites on a Long March 2C rocket developed and operated by a Chinese state-owned company.

Geely wants to support self-driving cars with high accuracy

In addition to providing high-accuracy GPS support for self-driving cars, Geely said its network also performs other commercial functions, such as providing connectivity services for the Asian Games in September.

The company added that the satellites have a lifespan of up to five years and decay in the Earth's atmosphere without leaving space debris.

The Chinese military dominates the country's satellite network. But the government has allowed private investment in the country's space industry since 2014.

Since then, some local government-backed companies have entered the industry in large numbers. Most of them focus on the manufacture of satellites. The remaining companies are trying to build smaller launchers, including reusable ones.

In its latest 2021-2025 five-year plan, Beijing calls for an integrated network of communications, remote sensing and navigation satellites.

China currently has more than 400 satellites in space, including commercial satellites.


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