In a key milestone, China’s first commercial 5G satellite has successfully passed its first communications test, paving the way for more internet-beaming satellites that can complement 5G base stations on the ground, according to private Chinese aerospace company GalaxySpace.
The low-orbit satellite was launched on January 16, a year after China’s state-owned spacecraft developer launched its first satellite aimed at creating a broadband communications satellite system.
It comes as private American companies are racing to put thousands of internet satellites into orbit around the Earth. On Monday, SpaceX — the world’s biggest commercial satellite operator — launched 60 satellites, bringing the total Starlink constellation to 300 satellites.
Starlink aims to begin services in northern U.S. and Canada this year, with plans for global coverage by 2021. Amazon’s Project Kuiperalso seeks to launch a worldwide satellite network.