The Chinese Elon Musk?

Credit: Geely Auto

Have you read about the Chinese car company with space ambitions? In a June 2 press release, we learn that a unit of the Chinese automaker Geely (owner of Volvo, Polestar, and Group Lotus) already sent 9 communications satellites into orbit this year, with plans for a total of 240 such satellites in a constellation that will assist car drivers with autonomous driving.

Of course, automaker Elon Musk is also launching satellites into space as part of the Starlink program, but that is about the end of the similarities for now. In addition to planning to launch fewer satellites with a more restricted mission, Geely will depend upon Chinese government rockets to launch these satellites. Mr. Musk has his own SpaceX rockets to assist Starlink.

That does not mean Geely lacks in ambition elsewhere. In the same press release, Geely stated:

With the successful launch and operation of Geespace’s first satellites, the company will become one of the world’s first providers of combined commercial Precise Point Positioning and Real-Time Kinematic services (PPP-RTK)…

Tony Wang, CEO and Chief Scientist of Geespace said: “Many favourable factors such as policy support and market demand is accelerating the growth of the commercial aerospace opportunities to develop have been opened in various sectors including smart mobility, consumer electronics, unmanned systems, smart cities, and environmental protection.”

And while Geely is not building rockets at this time, it is building satellites:

Early in September 2021, Geely’s Intelligent Satellite Production and Testing Centre began mass production of commercial satellites with an annual production capacity of 500 units. Through intelligent modular manufacturing, Geespace is able to produce high-quality, easily customizable satellites to meet the growing global demand for commercial satellites. The GeeSAT-1 is only the first of many new satellite models from Geespace and its successful launch into orbit is just the first of many to come.

Watch out, Elon!