China's tests for a global satellite network will start this year

CASIC plans to have 156 Hongyun satellites connected around the world.

Last month SpaceX launched a couple of satellites to test plans for a global internet provider (you can watch another non-internet satellite launch tonight), and now the China Aerospace Science and Industry Corp (CASIC) said it will perform a test of its own later this year. CASIC Second Academy president Zhang Zhongyang announced today that the first satellite will be placed in low-Earth orbit to test its broadband tech, capable of transmitting 500MB per second, to prep for the Hongyun project's planned 156 satellites.

After the first one goes up, four satellites will launch before 2020, with the full network scheduled to be in place by 2022 providing coverage around the world. While most satellites orbit at about 36,000 km above the Earth, these will stay at just 1,000 km. The Nation quotes Zhang saying "Hongyun will enable our users to enjoy broadband internet service no matter whether they are in the desert, on the sea or onboard an airliner."