China sends 13 satellites into orbit, including a 6G test satellite
Updated 14:03, 08-Nov-2020

China successfully sent 13 satellites into orbit from the Taiyuan Satellite Launch Center in north China's Shanxi Province on Friday, including the world's first sixth-generation (6G) communications test satellite.

The satellites blasted off atop a Long March-6 carrier rocket at 11:19 a.m. (Beijing Time). 

They include 10 commercial remote sensing satellites developed by Argentine company Satellogic, which marks the first time that China's new-generation of carrier rocket has taken foreign satellites into space.

Each weighing about 41 kg and with a design life of three years, the 10 satellites will be used to provide commercial remote sensing services with their multispectral and hyperspectral loads. 

Also on board the rocket were three satellites developed by Chinese high-tech companies and research institutes for remote-sensing observation, science experiments, and science popularization. 

One of the three is a 6G test satellite. It weighs 70 kg and is named after one its developers, University of Electronic Science and Technology of China.

It will be used to verify the performance of 6G technology in space, and the 6G frequency band will expand from the 5G millimetre wave frequency to the terahertz frequency.

Terahertz is a kind of electromagnetic wave with a frequency range between microwave and infrared.

The technology is expected to be over 100 times faster than 5G, enabling lossless transmission in space to achieve long-distance communications. 


The launch of the 6G test satellite marks a breakthrough in the exploration of terahertz space communication technologies in China's space field, said Xu Yangsheng, an academician of the Chinese Academy of Engineering. 

The satellite will be used in smart city construction, disaster prevention and mitigation, land planning, environmental protection, and the monitoring of major infrastructure construction.

Friday's launch was the 351st by the Long March rocket series.

(With input from Xinhua.)

(Cover: A Long March-6 carrier rocket carrying 13 satellites is launched from Taiyuan Satellite Launch Center in north China's Shanxi Province, November 6, 2020. /Xinhua)