Seven mini-satellites mostly designed and assembled by a Chinese space startup, Commsat Technology Development Co, blasted off on Friday afternoon, which its designers say will attempt to test the “internet of things” technology in fulfilling tasks such as tracing cargo ships and monitoring endangered wildlife.
The satellites were launched atop a Long March 2D carrier rocket from Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in northwestern China, the Beijing-based company said.
The main satellite, Ladybeetle I, is equipped with five high-definition cameras and a LED screen, it said.
The cameras on the 91.85-kilogram satellite is expected to take pictures of the outer space, which could be stitched together as a panorama, in the hope to provide a better spacewalk experience for virtual reality glass users, according to Xu Jiakang, one of the satellite’s chief designers.
The satellite could also allow people on earth to take selfies against the backdrop of mesmerizing views of the outer space, he added. “We could upload one’s portrait onto the screen, and we could use the cameras on the satellite to take photos of the screen in the space.”
Xie Tao, founder and CEO of Commsat, said the satellites are the first step in their ambitious plan to place a total of 72 such satellites into orbit by 2022. And the seven Ladybeetle satellites would mainly test the technology of internet of things.
Peng Yuanyuan, Commsat’s co-founder, said another four satellites are expected to orbit the earth as of end of 2019, and alongside the Ladybeetle satellites, they could provide commercial services, including monitoring overseas purchases.
Founded in 2015, Commat has been an innovator of the use of mini-satellites. In February, the tech company launched a CubeSat – Young Pioneer I – that enabled students to track and help control the spacecraft from the ground stations build in schools nationwide.