Hong Kong Aerospace Technology Group (HKATG) has launched its first starlink project in Hong Kong with an eye fixed on helping build smart cities across Hong Kong, Guangdong and Macau.
Called the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area (GBA) Golden Bauhinia Satellite Constellation, the project involves flying a low-orbit, high-frequency satellite over the GBA for the collection of ecological data that would accelerate its smart city development.
The Golden Bauhinia satellite constellation has a space resolution of 3 meters to Earth Observation, with a spectral range between 400nm and 1000nm. Its orbit can cover the entire Greater Bay Area once every two days, which is an area of up to 56,000 sqkm.
According to HKATG, its satellite constellations can revisit every 30 minutes to obtain up-to-date information. Coupled with the high-resolution CMOS sensor camera ground pixel resolution 2m@500km, the single image ground width is better than 54km.
Satellite spur growth of IoT connections
According to recent figures from ABI Research, satellites will play an important role in the growth of IoT deployments, particularly in application verticals, such as agriculture and asset tracking, that are dealing with the unreliability of terrestrial infrastructures.
The researcher predicts that by 2024, satellites will enable 24 million IoT connections globally.
“Terrestrial cellular networks only cover 20% of the Earth’s surface, while satellite networks can cover the entire surface of the globe, from pole to pole,” said Harriet Sumnall, research analyst at ABI Research. "The expansion of the satellite constellations that are currently in orbit and those due to take place will allow for connectivity to be more global. While the market using satellite connection is still immature, it shows great opportunities for growth.”
The application segments that are expected to see significant growth include agriculture, asset tracking, maritime tracking, and aviation tracking. However, these are burdened by the lack of terrestrial infrastructures available within their location.
Indeed, current use cases include Australian farmers who deployed rain gauges that use a satellite network to transmit remote rainfall data. South Australian satellite communications company Myriota and Queensland AgTech business Goanna Ag have partnered to develop the ‘everywhere’ solution that they say will unlock the power of remote monitoring at a price and scale never seen before. Myriota’s direct-to-orbit satellite network for the Internet of Things (IoT) means data from the devices can be transmitted in remote areas without internet or mobile phone coverage.
Putting HK in the aerospace race
Officially opened in 2019, HKATG is the first aerospace business group in Hong Kong, which focuses satellite remote sensing, satellite manufacturing, satellite navigation, satellite communications and satellite remote sensing ground receiving stations. It is also the first Hong Kong-based member of the International Astronautical Federation.
The "Golden Bauhinia" project aims to launch 165 low-orbit, high-frequency satellites in 2020 covering the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao GBA and serve the world's fastest-growing urban centres. HKATG is planning to another satellite launch in June in China.
Using mobile target monitoring, space AI and dynamic change monitoring, the "Golden Bauhinia Constellation" aims to achieve commercial application and development of communications, navigation, and remote sensing systems with global 24-hour online tracking and the ability to re-visit key areas in under 30 minutes.