Is the US Falling Behind China in the Race To Claim LEO Slots?


By Ashu Pande

Two recent announcements this week related to LEO satellites are worth taking note. Both are coming from China and show the trajectory Chinese companies after taking to align with China’s latest five-year plan for 2021-2025.

Beijing has called for an integrated network of satellites for communications, remote sensing and navigation. Here are the announcements: Shanghai-Backed Firm Raises $933 Mln To Build Satellite Constellation and Geely Launches 11 Satellites to Navigate Autonomous Vehicles.

The Chinese government seems to be leading the LEO charge (Image: Geely)

While one can argue that these initiatives in China are a bid to catch up with US’s Starlink, the ability of a single network to support communications, remote sensing and navigation warrants attention and respect. Most LEO systems, operational or announced, in US are optimized for a single function: communication, navigation, or remote sensing.

Mass manufacturing capacity is a hallmark of Chinese companies. Geely established a $326 million satellite mass manufacturing factory in Taizhou in March 2020, which will have an estimated production capacity of over 500 satellites per year.

Tony Wang, CEO and chief scientist of Geespace said: “Many favorable factors such as policy support and market demand is accelerating the growth of the commercial aerospace sector. By establishing the Geely Future Mobility Constellation, Geespace is positioning itself to meet future user demands for high-precision positioning, space-based communication, and remote sensing services.”

This industry is ripe for investment in companies that have a good product market fit and business models spanning commercial and defense applications. It is time venture investors in the US see the opportunity.

Contact:  Ashu Pande,


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