China launched the first two communications satellites for its space-based Internet of Things (IoT) project on a Kuaizhou-1A carrier rocket from Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in northwest China at 9:16 a.m. on Tuesday.
The two satellites, Xingyun-2 01 and 02, are the first stars of the "Xingyun Engineering" project, which is scheduled to complete the network with 80 low-orbit communications satellites.
Developed by the Xingyun Satellite Co., the satellites will conduct tests on technologies including space-based IoT communications, inter-satellite laser communications and a low-cost commercial satellite platform.
They will also carry out initial pilot IoT applications, according to the company.
KZ-1A is a low-cost solid-fuel carrier rocket featuring high orbit precision and a short preparation period. The rocket, developed by a company affiliated with Sanjiang Group under the China Aerospace Science and Industry Corporation (CASIC), is mainly used to launch low-orbit small satellites.
This launch was the KZ-1A carrier rocket's ninth mission.
(With input from Xinhua)