BEIJING, March 31 (Xinhua) -- State-owned China Aerospace Science & Industry Corp. (CASIC) announced plans for a network of 156 mini-satellites that would facilitate global broadband coverage.

This is the first low orbiting, networked satellite project, which will orbit 1,000 km above the ground, developed by China amid its wider push for commercial space development, said the CASIC.

"The network is a general satellite platform," said Bei Chao, an engineer with the CASIC, who added that add-ons and upgrades would be explored next.

Small satellites are easy to mass produce and upgrade at low cost. Low orbit helps avoid signal delay; and satellite communication services with frequencies from 26.5 to 40 hertz will improve Internet access.

The project plans to send the first satellite before 2018, and launch four more by 2020 to form a constellation. By the end of the 14th Five-Year Plan (2021-2025), all 156 satellites will be in operation.

CASIC launched an experimental satellite "TK-1" in early March, featuring high-carrying efficiency and adaptability.