The Tianqi 25-28 satellites lifted off on a Ceres-1S rocket from a mobile platform off the coast of eastern China’s Shandong province at 4.12pm local time towards their designed orbit 850km (528 miles) above Earth, the rocket company Galactic Energy announced shortly after the launch.

Once complete, the Tianqi constellation will comprise 38 small satellites to promote data connectivity through smart devices, and provide global coverage and near real-time data transmission services to government, industrial and individual users, according to its developer and operator Guodian Gaoke, a Beijing-based satellite company.

02:05

North Korea fails in attempt to launch second spy satellite into orbit

North Korea fails in attempt to launch second spy satellite into orbit

“The existing Tianqi satellites have been used in a variety of scenarios, such as emergency communications and rescue, environmental protection and monitoring, and the transport of hazardous chemicals,” Lu Qiang, chief executive of Guodian Gaoke, told Chinese media last year.

“In the future, we will expand our services to other fields, including outdoor emergency response and military applications,” he said.

The constellation requires only small, low-cost and low-power consumption terminal equipment, according to the company website. The smallest terminal is 3.5cm (1.38 inches) across, and the cost of making the equipment has dropped to less than 1,000 yuan (US$138).

Compared with the two dozen Tianqi satellites already operating in orbit, the latest batch features high-stability, high-speed data communication capabilities with 10-minute global coverage, the company said on its official WeChat account on Tuesday.

It is the second time the Chinese launch vehicle start-up Galactic Energy has sent up Tianqi satellites for Guodian Gaoke. In September, Tianqi 21-24 were sent into an 800km orbit from a sea platform near Shandong.

02:14

China’s Chang’e 6 launches historic mission to collect first rock samples from far side of the moon

China’s Chang’e 6 launches historic mission to collect first rock samples from far side of the moon

The four-stage, solid-fuel Ceres-1S was developed based on Galactic Energy’s workhorse rocket model Ceres-1 to meet the needs of sea launches. It can adapt to different launching and landing areas, and launch smaller payloads into low and medium Earth orbits.

The company said it had adjusted the launching site this time to make sure Tianqi 25-28 met the requirement for specific orbital inclination. As the only company in China that can launch from both land launch pads and sea platforms, Galactic Energy said it was ready to serve different users and enter an intensive launch period.