By Zhao Zhijiang
Satellites might be categorised into three classes based mostly on orbital altitude: geostationary, medium-orbit, and low-orbit. Low-orbit satellites, characterised by low transmission time, minimal path loss, small satellite tv for pc terminal measurement, and enormous system capability, have a aggressive benefit in satellite tv for pc communication. They’re at present a focus of analysis in satellite tv for pc web expertise. Satellite tv for pc web is a communication system that allows international connectivity by means of satellites, offering broadband web companies to completely different customers throughout land, sea, and air utilizing a sure variety of satellites. Satellite tv for pc web is a present market development and a worldwide focus for future competitors, prone to unfold among the many United States, China, the European Union, and Russia.
At current, Elon Musk’s space-based high-speed web undertaking Starlink holds a number one place. Notably, through the Russia-Ukraine battle, it grew to become an important communication methodology for Ukraine. The Ukrainian navy used Starlink to function drones and unmanned boats towards the Russian navy. Lately, Musk additionally visited Israel, securing agreements for Starlink’s software within the Gaza Strip. This means the geopolitical significance assigned to satellite tv for pc web expertise. For China, pressing consideration is required to develop low-orbit satellite tv for pc communication expertise. Nevertheless, in comparison with overseas counterparts, China faces the problem of comparatively excessive prices in satellite tv for pc manufacturing, posing a major drawback. The fee issue is essential in figuring out China’s success within the sustainable growth of satellite tv for pc analysis. Failure to scale back prices might impede China’s means to achieve this area.
From the angle of the event historical past of satellite tv for pc expertise, many once-dazzling company manufacturers have failed on account of points associated to price management in analysis and manufacturing. Iridium, Globalstar, Teledesic, and Orbcomm are vivid examples. Taking the Iridium communication system underneath the U.S. Motorola firm for instance, the whole price of this technique, consisting of 66 satellites, amounted to USD 5 billion. The excessive price made the operation of the Iridium system unsustainable, resulting in its eventual chapter. Later, after enterprise restructuring and changes, Iridium skilled a turnaround from losses to earnings and developed the Iridium NEXT in recent times, with a brand new analysis and growth price reaching as excessive as USD 3 billion. Many satellite tv for pc communication corporations available in the market have been teetering on the sting of profitability as a result of excessive prices concerned.
“Low price” is likely one of the causes for the success of the Starlink plan. In response to Morgan Stanley’s estimate, the manufacturing price of a Starlink satellite tv for pc is USD 1 million. Musk has publicly disclosed that, in an optimistic state of affairs with the reuse of the first-stage rocket and fairing, the price of a single satellite tv for pc might be diminished to USD 500,000. In response to information cited by Main Business Analysis, deploying a complete of 42,000 Starlink satellites requires an funding of USD 21 billion in satellite tv for pc manufacturing prices and USD 10.5 billion in launch prices. For Musk, these bills are nothing vital. It’s price mentioning that the U.S. tech large Amazon can be catching up. Amazon lately launched a undertaking known as “Venture Kuiper”, hoping to compete with Starlink with a low-cost working mannequin. In response to related data, the price of an Amazon satellite tv for pc is round USD 1 million.
In distinction, the manufacturing price of China’s satellites is far greater than that of business satellites in another international locations. In response to a analysis report by Zheshang Securities, the present common price of low-Earth orbit communication satellites in China is about RMB 30 million. Because of the advanced manufacturing course of, the old-school satellite tv for pc manufacturing methodology in China entails the fixed-position manufacturing of a single satellite tv for pc. Nevertheless, assembling over a thousand processes on the similar fastened place ends in extraordinarily low manufacturing effectivity. Due to this, Zheshang Securities estimates the labor and manufacturing prices account for about 50% of the satellite tv for pc price. Along with this, to take care of the reliability of the satellite tv for pc, researchers have to conduct intensive testing. The method of creating a satellite tv for pc from scratch takes about eight months, resulting in constantly rising prices. Contemplating the excessive price of producing satellites, coupled with subsequent launch prices, it might be difficult for China’s satellite tv for pc expertise to succeed in a stage of sustainable growth.
The important thing to addressing the challenges of satellite tv for pc manufacturing prices and costs lies in bettering the manufacturing mode. By means of the examine and comparability of abroad satellite tv for pc manufacturing, rising applied sciences similar to synthetic intelligence and large-scale manufacturing are efficient methods to scale back satellite tv for pc manufacturing prices. It’s understood that Musk has launched a completely automated manufacturing line in satellite tv for pc manufacturing. In distinction, the UK-based satellite tv for pc firm OneWeb makes use of superior applied sciences similar to automated manufacturing traces, collaborative robots, and clever instruments, with a single manufacturing line able to producing 2 satellites per day. For China, such clever manufacturing traces will assist scale back labor and time prices, considerably bettering the effectivity of satellite tv for pc manufacturing. As well as, “modularity” can be an essential idea. Experimental conclusions from American aerospace corporations point out that utilizing modular satellite tv for pc platform expertise can scale back satellite tv for pc prices by 29%. Moreover, some opinions recommend that the division of labor within the business chain and the involvement of extra personal enterprises will successfully scale back China’s satellite tv for pc manufacturing prices. One can confer with the instance of the U.S.: earlier than Musk based SpaceX, the price of the house business within the U.S. was comparatively excessive, and it was solely after the introduction of personal enterprises that the event prices on this area have been diminished.
Price financial savings from altering the manufacturing mode might be channeled into enhancing China’s satellite tv for pc communication expertise, significantly addressing weaknesses in rocket restoration expertise and chip growth. Researchers be aware China’s deficiency in reusable rockets, a constraint on effectively constructing satellite tv for pc constellation methods. Not like Elon Musk, China faces challenges in using mature, low-cost chips for satellite tv for pc expertise. Allocating saved prices to develop these sectors establishes a benevolent cycle, fostering the sustainable progress of the nation’s satellite tv for pc communication expertise.
Remaining evaluation conclusion:
Within the fervent international competitors of satellite tv for pc web expertise, the “satellite tv for pc manufacturing” worth and price are essential determinants of success. Decrease prices allow actions akin to these taken by Elon Musk, whereas greater prices hinder any progress. Sooner or later, China must pursue the sustainable growth of satellite tv for pc web expertise by lowering satellite tv for pc manufacturing prices.
Zhao Zhijiang is a researcher at ANBOUND