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World’s First Orbiter that allows Smartphones to make direct Sat-ellite Calls

Why is it in the news?

  • Chinese scientists have developed the Tiantong-1 series of satellites, allowing smartphones to make direct satellite calls without ground-based infrastructure like cellular towers.

More about the news

  • Tiantong-1 satellites are placed in geosynchronous orbit at approximately 36,000 km altitude, covering the entire Asia-Pacific region from the Middle East to the Pacific Ocean. Geosynchronous orbit enables an object to maintain pace with Earth’s rotation.
·       In September 2023, Huawei Technologies introduced the world’s first smartphone supporting satellite calls by connecting directly to the Tiantong satellites.

Significance of Satellite Communication Technology (SCT)

  • Facilitates seamless communication access in remote, rural, and hard-to-reach areas.
  • Crucial for contingency planning during natural disasters or emergencies, providing reliable communication when terrestrial networks are disrupted.
  • Military and defense applications include secure communication, navigation, surveillance, and intelligence gathering.

Concerns Associated with SCT

  • Risks include space debris and orbital congestion, regulatory challenges, and international coordination and liability issues.
  • Cyber threats such as jamming and spoofing pose additional concerns.
Satellite Communication Technology in India

·       Under the Telecommunications Act of 2023, satellite communication companies can acquire spectrum for point-to-point communications without auctions.

·       The Department of Telecommunication (DoT) issues Global Mobile Personal Communications by Satellite (GMPCS) Licenses for satellite telephony, with companies like Bharati Group and Reliance Group previously obtaining such licenses.


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