China's Geespace launches next batch of LEO satellites for connected cars

China's Geespace launches next batch of LEOsats for connected cars

Geespace, a subsidiary of Chinese carmaker Zhejiang Geely Holding Group, says it has added another 11 LEO satellites to its planned global constellation designed primarily to serve connected and self-driving cars.

The LEO satellites were launched on a Long March CZ-2C rocket from the Xichang Satellite Launch Center in Sichuan on Saturday to complete the second orbital plane of the Geely Future Mobility Constellation. The launch comes almost two years after nine LEO satellites of the first orbital plane were deployed in June 2022.

Geely plans to deploy 72 LEO satellites by 2025 for the first phase of the Geely Future Mobility Constellation. The second phase will expand the network to 168 satellites.

Geespace said the satellite network will combine communications, navigation, and remote sensing within a single satellite network. Once completed, the company says, the full network will have positioning capabilities with centimetre-level accuracy.

The Geely Future Mobility Constellation is ostensibly meant to provide satellite communications to intelligent connected vehicles with self-driving capabilities. Geely’s Zeekr 001 FR, Zeekr 007 and Galaxy E8 models already have satellite communications features built in.

While China is Geely's primary market, it also has a growing export business – the company reported last month that Geely Auto exports to overseas markets increased 38% YoY to 274,101 units. Zhejiang Geely Holding Group also owns majority stakes in Volvo and Lotus.

Meanwhile, Geespace said in a statement on Monday that it also plans to take on players like Iridium, Globalstar, Orbcomm and OneWeb by offering global LEO satellite IoT services to various sectors.

The Geely Future Mobility Constellation is also designed to support the provision of direct-to-satellite mobile phone services, pitting it against the likes of SpaceX’s Starlink, Lynk Global and AST Spacemobile.

Geespace said the satellites also come equipped with AI remote sensing functions that provide 1-5 meter high-resolution remote sensing imaging. The company plans to use that to provide imaging solutions such as ecological environment monitoring.


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