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China Developing Integrated Antenna-Solar Satellites to Enable Cell Phone Connectivity with Space Networks

Chinese satellite internet startup GalaxySpace is developing a new generation of communication satellites with advanced technologies to support direct connections from satellites to cell phones, according China’s official Xinhua news agency. These satellites integrate phased array antennas and solar panels into a “wing array” design that greatly reduces satellite size and cost.

The key “wing array integration” technology hides the antenna within the solar wings. By unfolding the wings and antennas together in a two-dimensional plane spanning several square meters, GalaxySpace can reduce the volume satellites occupy in space while improving network efficiency.

Continued research aims to enable highly efficient cooling and distributed power supply for the integrated wing array satellites. This new compact, power-efficient design will facilitate affordable large-scale satellite constellation networks.

China has now designated commercial spaceflight as a strategic emerging industry after it was included in the 2023 Central Economic Work Conference. Flexible high-efficiency solar wings make possible satellites with abundant onboard power. Accelerated satellite infrastructure development is enabling ambitious space-based global information networks.

GalaxySpace Chief Scientist Zhang Shijie stated that direct satellite-to-cell phone connectivity will likely be an essential component of 6G networks. He said GalaxySpace will drive further innovation in low-cost, high-performance satellites for intelligent omnipresent space networks that integrate communication, computing, and sensing capabilities.

Source: Xinhua, February 12, 2024