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Hong Yan - Constellation communications system

In December 2019, state-owned China Aerospace Science and Industry Corporation (CASIC) launched their first experimental Hongyun (rainbow cloud) Project satellite and a week later China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation (CASC) launched their first experimental Hongyan (wild goose) Project satellite.

The Hongyan constellation was initially planned for more than 300 satellites, along with data processing centers, and was to be built in three stages. Once completed, the satellite communication network would take the place of the ground-based network and allow a mobile phone to be connected everywhere on the planet, either in a remote desert or at sea, according to the China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation (CASC).

China would establish a constellation of more than 300 low-orbit satellites to provide global communication services, CASC announced on 23 February 2018. The first satellite of the Hongyan constellation is set to be launched this year, CASC said.

China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation planned as of late 2016 to finalize the construction of its Hongyan Satellite Constellation Communication System by 2020. The system, composed of 60 small, low-orbiting satellites and a global data service processing center, would provide global users with real-time data communication and comprehensive information services.

The Hongyan constellation would integrate a number of satellite applications. The satellite data collection function can meet the requirements of data monitoring and transmission in the fields of oceanography, meteorology, traffic, environmental protection, geology and disaster prevention. It is also capable of providing energy and engineering companies with services including management of global assets, personnel positioning, emergency rescue and communication services. Its satellite data exchange function can provide two-way, real-time data transmission globally, as well as other multimedia data services.

The system would be equipped with an automatic ship identification system, which can receive information sent by ships from around the world. In addition, the system's mobile broadcast function is able to broadcast audio, video, still images and other information. Its navigation enhancement function would help to improve the BeiDou navigation satellite’s positioning accuracy.

On 08 July 2017, CGWIC was invited to attend the forum of "Development and Prospect of China Small Satellite" under the GLEX 2017, and gave a speech about Hongyan Sat Constellation project. CGWIC introduced the Constellation blue print, technical index and application of Hongyan Sat Constellation in the area of Public emergency communication, Internet of Thing(IOT) and Industry. During the meeting CGWIC also introduced other international commercial space application projects, and expressed the intention of jointly developing these commercial projects. International Space application projects were arousing wide interest during the meeting.

Upon its completion, the Hongyan constellation would consist of more than 320 satellites operating in low-Earth orbits, capable of providing phone call service and broadband internet access to users anywhere on the globe, according to the China Academy of Space Technology, part of CASC. The major parts in the network-54 large communication satellites- would be launched before the end of 2023, and then 270 small satellites would be placed in orbits to supplement them. Together they would form a system with global reach.

Zhang Hongtai, president of the academy, said his academy would launch a satellite this year to demonstrate technologies to be used by the Hongyan network. "The technology demonstration satellite would work on an orbit about 1,100 kilometers above the ground to verify Hongyan satellite's compatibility in low orbit as well as its data transmission capacity," he said 12 March 2018.

Next, the academy would launch six Hongyan satellites before 2020 to construct a regional system to test intersatellite data links, Zhang said, adding that when the 54 large satellites - including the six already in orbit - are all in place, they would begin providing phone call service to global users. When all 270 small satellites are launched and become operational, the Hongyan network would start offering broadband internet access to users, the researcher said, without providing a time frame.

Hongyan would put an end to users' difficulties in making a phone call or using the internet when they are in a desert or remote mountain areas. The constellation would also help the Beidou system enhance its signal and improve positioning accuracy. International maritime satellites currently are widely used for communications in mountainous areas and for airplanes, but these satellites, which would orbit 36,000 kilometers above the Earth, have time and signal delays as well as high costs for providing services, Yang Yuguang, a research fellow with CASIC, said when the company announced the plan in 2017.

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