A Chinese internet company called Bilibili will soon become the first in the country to launch its own satellite. It's being called an educational satellite launched "with the aim of inspiring a sense of wonder and curiosity in the scientific world amongst young people in China" according to the company.
The bar for launching satellites into space is quickly falling thanks to mini satellite and micro satellite technology, which leverages shrinking components and the proliferation of sensing equipment related to the rise of mobile computing. With private companies such as China's iSpace offering payload services to space, companies and organizations have never had more access to the universe beyond our planet.
Tiny, privately owned satellites are also giving the public new perspectives on earth and the cosmos, as well as access to technology that was previously the realm of governments. They're also helping companies offer compelling services and content to end users.
The so-called Bilibili Video Satellite will be used to produce custom videos based on requests from Bilibili users. It will also participate in disaster monitoring produce educational content related to space and aeronautics via an official Bilibili account, which will live-stream the launch of the satellite in late June.
The satellite features 3D imaging technology and will orbit the earth 15 times a day while capturing high-resolution images 500 kilometers above the earth. In addition to terrestrial sights such as cities lighting up at night, the satellite will capture the Aurora Borealis and will observe other celestial bodies including the Moon and Saturn.
The Bilibili Video Satellite will launch from China's Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in Inner Mongolia, where it is currently being tested in preparation for the launch. The hardware was developed by Chang Guang Satellite Technology and weighs about 172 kilograms. It will carry two high-performance payload cameras.