India to launch with SpaceX's Falcon 9 for the first time

Also: Huawei in patent deal with Nokia, and China slates 2025 as year for mass produced flying cars

ASIA IN BRIEF The Indian government’s commercial space agency arm, NewSpace India, has spilled the details [PDF] on how the country would launch a broadband communication satellite aboard a SpaceX Falcon-9 rocket.

The launch of the GSAT-20 is expected in the second quarter of 2024. The spacecraft is a high-throughput Ka-band Satellite that in addition to broadband, will provide In-Flight and Maritime Connectivity (IFMC) and cellular backhaul service. The goal is to provide connectivity to remote and unconnected areas within India.

The endeavor, if successful, will mark the first time an Indian space agency has launched aboard a rocket from the Musk company.

Chairman of the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO), S Somanath, reportedly said India needed to use SpaceX because "no other rocket was available in time."

India has three of its own rocket launchers, the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV), Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV), and Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle Mk-III (LVM3), but presumably none of those fit the GSAT-20’s needs.

Media outlet SpaceNews noted that the launch was expected on the LVM3, but that may not be possible because of weight restrictions. The GSAT-20 has a mass of 4,700 kg while the LVM3 can only manage geostationary transfer orbit of 4,000 kg.

And with India’s usual standby of the Ariane 5 no longer in service and the Ariane 6 not quite yet operating, plus the Atlas 5 booked up, options are limited.

Honor agrees to pay Nokia’s 5G patent royalties

Nokia and Chinese smartphone maker Honor have signed a 5G patent license agreement, according to a statement from the Finnish phone maker on Tuesday.

It is the "fourth major litigation-free smartphone agreement that Nokia has concluded over the past twelve months," according to Nokia's chief licensing officer Susanna Martikainen.

Licensing makes up a significant portion of Nokia’s overall portfolio. In 2022, it accounted for over a third of the company’s operating profits. Nokia has had difficulty getting other Chinese device makers to pay licensing for use of its patents.

Nokia lost a FRAND royalty case to device maker Oppo in Chinese courts last month.

"This is the first-ever ruling that confirmed the range of the aggregated royalty burden of 5G standard essential patents for the mobile phone industry," trilled Oppo.

Honor began as a Huawei subsidiary, but after 2019 US sanctions hit the parent company, it was sold to Shenzhen Zhixin New Information Technology Co, Ltd, a conglomerate with ties to the Chinese government.

China's unmanned aerial vehicles now need real name registration

China’s Interim Regulations on Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) Flight Management implemented new regulations January 1st.

Among them are that operators must register their UAVs using their real names and affix a corresponding QR code to the UAV hardware, or face a fine ranging between $28 and $2820. the government also plans to roll out fines to parents who do not supervise their children while using drones or UAVs and those who do not fly their kit at correct speeds or altitudes.

“This is the first special administrative regulation for the management of unmanned aerial vehicles in China, which is of great significance to the development of the UAV industry,” commented Chinese drone-maker DJI on its website.

Chinese XPENG claims it will mass-produce flying cars by Q4 2025

Xpeng Motors claimed [PDF] in a January 2nd Hong Kong stock exchange filing that its affiliate startup, Xpeng Aeroht, expects to be mass-producing flying vehicles by the fourth quarter of 2025.

Southeast Asia’s e-commerce giant Lazada slashes workforce

Alibaba-owned Southeast Asian e-commerce giant Lazada reportedly laid off hundreds unexpectedly last week.

The e-tailer was founded in 2012. Alibaba acquired a majority stake in 2016. The landscape for Asian e-commerce has become increasingly competitive over the past decade as companies like Temu, Tokopedia and Shopee have entered the scene.

In other news…

Last week's regional coverage in The Reg included news of a court ordered arbitration for Wipro and an ex-CFO who left for Cognizant, allegedly in violation of a non-compete agreement.

Three Chinese balloons reportedly floated over a Taiwanese airbase. Meanwhile, American intelligence assessed that the air balloon that flew over the US last year used an unnamed commercial US internet provider.

A teardown of a Huawei notebook revealed a 5nm Kirin 9006C processor manufactured by Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (TSMC), thus casting doubt on claims that China had found a way to reliably mass produce 5 nm laptop chips on its own. The sanctions-riddled company reportedly has also laid off much of its public and government relations teams in the US, indicating that it may have given up on reversing its presence on blacklists.

An earthquake that hit Japan on New Year's Day forced the temporary closure of chip and electronics companies in Ishikawa Prefecture.

India launched the world's second X-ray polarimetry space observatory. ®

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