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China Takes on SpaceX: 13,000 Satellites to Compete With and Monitor SpaceX’s Starlink Constellations

Starlink Arabsat-6A Mission. Photo: SpaceX

China plans to send almost 13,000 satellites into low-Earth orbit to compete with and monitor SpaceX’s Starlink constellations. The project, codenamed “GW,” is being run by a newly established group called China Satellite Network Group Co, whose goal is to launch a total of 12,992 small satellites into orbit quickly. This would dwarf Starlink’s current count of around 3,500 satellites, though SpaceX plans to have 12,000 satellites in orbit by 2027 and an eventual total count of 40,000 orbiting devices.

In addition to competing with Starlink, the China Satellite Network Group Co also aims to track and potentially disable SpaceX devices. Researchers with the group have expressed concern about the satellites’ maneuverability and the potential for them to be used to target and destroy other objects in space. By launching their own fleet of devices into the mix, China hopes to be able to match that potential.

The big picture: China’s need to move quickly on this project is driven by a desire to prevent Starlink from dominating the low-Earth orbit space and preventing other countries or companies from occupying the area. The project has already begun and, if successful, could provide increased internet coverage worldwide but also used to spy on rival networks and carry out anti-Starlink missions accroding to reports.

By CircleID Reporter

CircleID’s internal staff reporting on news tips and developing stories. Do you have information the professional Internet community should be aware of? Contact us.

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