HELSINKI — Chinese satellite operator and remote sensing data firm ADA Space raised $55.6 million in a Series B investment round for its artificially intelligent satellite network plans.

The short announcement from ADA Space Nov. 20 states that the 355 million yuan in funding will be used for satellite network capacity building and research and development.

The round was led by Hengjian Holding, an investment vehicle of the Guangdong Provincial People’s government. Guangdong-based Shenzhen Oriental Fortune Capital and Dongguan Financial Holdings and Beijing-based Qingchuang Bole and others followed.

ADA Space, full name Chengdu Guoxing Aerospace Technology Co., Ltd., was founded in 2018 and is based in Chengdu, capital of Sichuan province, southwest China. 

It uses AI applications for optimizing remote sensing data from its satellites. The firm previously raised $21.37 million in a 2020 A+ round led by Aplus Capital and Galaxy Holding Group.

The company says it aims to accelerate the development of the “Xingshidai” AI satellite constellation. Early plans called for a network of 192 satellites.

Xingshidai-10, launched in July, last week completed on-orbit tests and entered service. It delivers full-color resolution images with a resolution of 1 meter and multispectral images at 4-meter resolution. Notably the satellite also bears the name “Guangdong Hengjian,” apparently for the latest main investor.

ADA Space is also developing an Earth observation live streaming app, Live Earth, and cloud infrastructure, named ADA CLOUD. ADASpace claims it has provided services to around 100 business and government users.

The Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) in September approved ADA Space to participate in a “2021 Big Data Industry Development Pilot Demonstration Project.”

ADA Space also signed a deal in September with China Great Wall Industry Corp., a commercial arm of China’s main space contractor CASC, to launch its new, self-developed fourth-generation AI satellite on the second Long March 8 rocket. 

The launcher is set to fly with multiple payloads from the coastal Wenchang spaceport in February 2022.

China partially opened its traditionally state-owned space sector to private capital in late 2014. Hundreds of companies have since emerged, with support from national policies, military-civil fusion, provincial and local assistance and serious investment.

Andrew Jones covers China's space industry for SpaceNews. Andrew has previously lived in China and reported from major space conferences there. Based in Helsinki, Finland, he has written for National Geographic, New Scientist, Smithsonian Magazine, Sky...