China has successfully launched what has been described as the world’s first satellite to test 6G communications.
The satellite entered orbit with another 12 satellites from the Taiyuan Satellite Launch Center in Shanxi Province.
Media reports said: The 6G satellite was among three Chinese satellites successfully launched into orbit, along with 10 commercial remote-sensing satellites developed by the Argentine Satellogic Company.
The satellite was named after the University of Electronic Science and Technology of China, and it was jointly developed by Chengdu Guoxing Aerospace Technology, UESTC and Beijing MinoSpace Technology.
The telecom industry is still several years away from the approval of the 6G specification, so it is not yet certain that the technology being tried will find its way to the final standard.
The satellite uses high-frequency terahertz waves to achieve data transfer speeds many times faster than 5G networks are likely to be capable of.
The satellite is being used to verify the performance of 6G technology in space, as the 6G frequency range is expanded from the millimeter wave 5G frequency to the terahertz frequency.
The satellite also carries the technology that will be used to monitor crop disasters and prevent forest fires.
Xu Yangsheng, an academic at the Chinese Academy of Engineering, said: The satellite is the first technical test for applying terahertz frequency for communications in space.
This technology is expected to be about 100 times faster than 5G, enabling lossless transmission in space for long-range communications with smaller power output.
According to Finnish University of Oulu, 6G is still in its infancy, and it must overcome many technical hurdles in basic research, hardware design, and its environmental impact before the technology becomes commercially available.
Lu Chuan, president of UESTC Institute of Satellite Industry Technology, said: This technology allows terahertz to be used on a large scale in the satellite Internet.
The satellite carries a remote visual sensing system to monitor disasters, forest fires and forest resources, monitor water and mountain floods, as well as provide ample images and data from satellites, Chuan noted.