Chinese carmaker Geely has launched 9 satellites into low earth orbit via their Geespace sub-brand, which is as of now China’s only privately-owned developer, operator and producer of low-orbit satellites. The project is being undertaken to better improve the accuracy of autonomous cars and will enable the cars to be better connected as well.
The first 9 satellites have been launched, though the overall plan is to have 72 total satellites launched by 2025, and the total number of expected satellites which will be in the sky is 240 and the second stage of satellite launches will consist of 168 satellites. The purpose of said satellites will also help with logistics, drone navigation, mapping and other fields with the help of centimetre-accurate precise positioning, and connectivity support.
The satellite itself is called GeeSAT-1, and has an operational lifespan of 5 years after which it will fall back into the Earth’s atmosphere and disintegrate without leaving any debris in space, the company said. Geely also said that these satellites’ mapping and monitoring systems would make them the world’s first providers of Precise Point Positioning and Real-Time Kinematic services (PPP-RTK).
The satellite “constellation” as it has been termed is being operated and managed from a multitude of cities all across China, such as Qingdao, Taizhou, Korla, Chengdu, and Harbin. At first, only the Asia-Pacific region will get the service’s coverage, with global services expected to start in 2026. Geely also said that the GEESAT-1 is the first of many satellites, with plans being for many more new satellites to be produced, and the current annual production capability is for over 500 satellites.