China’s 6G satellite

The technology race ascends into the atmosphere as China launch the first 6G satellite into space

Photo by Sputnik.

— 3 minute read — By Derry Salter

The world’s understanding of space is set to increase after China successfully launched the first 6G satellite into orbit on November 6th in order to test the technology. The satellite was a joint project between Chengdu Guoxing Aerospace Technology, the University of Electronic Science and Technology of China, and Beijing Weina Xingkong Technology.

The sixth generation of mobile Internet technology is a new concept and it is clear that China are miles ahead of the rest of the world in developing such advanced technology. This experimental satellite, named Tianyan-5, from the Taiyuan Satellite Launch Centre joins 12 other satellites developed by Satellogic, an Argentinian company which produces observation satellites. The satellite involves the use of high-frequency terahertz waves that allows the transmission of data to become a lot faster and more efficient than 5G already is. Despite the development of 6G being in its early stages, German researchers claim that such technology would become more than ten times faster than the maximum speed of 5G.

Not only is China’s 6G satellite a massive step forward for technology, it will also be a major contribution to the agricultural sector as the satellite carries technology that can be used to monitor crop disasters. There is already evidence that such technology will become more environmentally friendly as the satellite’s technology gives it the ability to detect and consequently prevent forest fires as well as monitor illegal-logging in forests. Furthermore, 6G is set to be more energy efficient in comparison to its predecessors with the aim to reduce its production of carbon dioxide.

However, the technology industry is still far from agreeing on the specifications of 6G meaning that the current satellite being trialled may not be the final product. Technology experts such as Dr Diep Nguyen of the University of Technology Sydney has cited the commercialisation and standardisation of 5G as the cause behind the advancement of 6G technology. Despite the use of 5G networks only becoming a recent addition to Australian society, Dr Nguyen argues that already “People are talking about the next stage in the [technological] life cycle”.

The development of 6G will plausibly result in some social challenges after 5G became the subject of conspiracy theories earlier this year after claims that it was linked to the COVID-19 pandemic. Researchers found that 8 percent of UK residents believed that COVID-19 could be transmitted through the use of 5G networks. Although 6G is rumoured to be a useful addition to society, there is still the possibility of further conspiracy theories surrounding 6G satellites therefore hindering the technology’s success.

Although China’s launching of the 6G satellite is a cause for excitement in the technological world, we are years away from seeing a 6G compatible phone. At the moment 6G is merely a concept, but it is clear that the global race to develop the technology has begun.