Orbex to launch nanosatellites for planet-wide IoT network
(7 February 2019 - Orbex) Orbex has announced that Swiss-based Astrocast, has selected Orbex to launch as many as 10 nanosatellites by 2023 in support of its global Internet of Things (IoT) network.
Astrocast is building a 64 CubeSat IoT network to deliver affordable data communication services to the world’s most remote areas. Designed specifically for IoT, Astrocast’s two-way system allows companies to monitor and control their remote assets, including over-the-air upgrades at lower latency and cost than existing satellite communications networks.
This capability has a multitude of applications across many industry sectors including environmental monitoring, security, maritime, mining, oil & gas and back-up. Astrocast’s system employs multilevel AES 256 encryption making bringing a new level of security to IoT.
This partnership underscores that attractiveness of the UK’s satellite launch capability. Orbex’s orbital launch vehicle, called Prime, will deliver small satellites into Earth’s orbit from the proposed Sutherland spaceport in Scotland, as part of the main consortium. It is built upon a unique architecture that’s 30% lighter and 20% more efficient than any other vehicle in the small launcher category.
“We are excited about the prospect of launching our nanosatellites from a European launch site” said Fabien Jordan, Astrocast CEO. “To deploy and maintain our constellation, we need regular access to launch services. Launching from Europe will be beneficial to us in terms of our production schedule and launch campaign logistics. Orbex is making good progress toward its first launch in 2021 from Scotland and we look forward to working with them over the coming years.”
“What Astrocast is planning is nothing short of revolutionary, and we’re excited to be a part of it,” said Chris Larmour, CEO of Orbex. “It is not just a great idea. They are already executing well, having designed and manufactured their first satellite, which is already operational in the Earth’s orbit. We are encouraged to see this satellite innovation here in Europe, and we look forward to playing our part in the deployment of their satellite constellation.”
Orbex is a UK-based spaceflight company, with subsidiaries and production facilities in Denmark and Germany. Orbex staff members have professional backgrounds with NASA, ESA and several other commercial spaceflight organizations. The company is funded by two of Europe's largest venture capital funds, Sunstone Technology Ventures and the High-Tech Gründerfonds, as well as strategic investor Elecnor Deimos Space, the UK Space Agency (UKSA), the European Space Agency (ESA) and the European Commission Horizon 2020 program.
Astrocast SA, in partnership with the European Space Agency, Airbus and Thuraya, is developing an advanced nanosatellite network for IoT. Airbus and Astrocast have developed a low-cost ASIC and module that delivers the most power efficient satellite modem for IoT applications. Its constellation will consist of 64 CubeSat satellites in Low Earth Orbit (LEO) and will provide low-latency global coverage. Astrocast was founded in 2014 by the developers of Swiss Cube, one of the longest lasting, operational nanosatellites in space.