On Thursday, in Wuhan, Hubei Province, Central China, the first satellite rolled off China's first intelligent small satellite assembly line. It is a typical mass-produced satellite, independently developed by the China Corporation of Space Science and Technology (CASIC).
This new development demonstrates that China will soon enter the mass production phase of small satellites.
According to Space Engineering Development Co., Ltd. (a subsidiary of CASIC), the new production line will be able to meet the assembly and integration test demand of 240 small satellites weighing less than 1 ton each per year. With the help of intelligent manufacturing technologies, it will increase the production efficiency of small satellites by more than 40%.
A program launched by CASIC in September 2016 aims to create a satellite system to provide broadband Internet connectivity to users around the world, especially in underserved regions.
The industrial site is located on the territory of the Wuhan National Aerospace Industry Base, which occupies 68.8 sq. km. More than 100 enterprises are concentrated there, capable of providing annual output of products worth 30 billion yuan (more than $ 4.6 billion). This complex was created primarily for the mass production of inexpensive launch vehicles, in particular, the solid-propellant Kuaizhou.
As previously reported by CASIC, this year the PRC will carry out at least 40 launches and set a new national record. This figure is expected to increase markedly in the coming years, including through private commercial projects.