Adelaide’s Internet of Things (IoT) startup Fleet Space Technologies has announced the launch plans for its first two low-earth orbit nano satellites, the first in a planned constellation of 100.
Centauri I – which weighs less than 10kg, and is roughly the size of a shoebox – will be sent to space aboard an Indian Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle by the Indian Space Research Organisation and its commercial arm Antrix, under contract with rocket payload rideshare firm Spaceflight. The launch is due to take place in August.
Centauri II will launch on Spaceflight's SSO-A mission; which will see a collection of small satellites put aboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 from Vandenberg Air Force Base in the second half of 2018.
“It’s a huge milestone to have secured our first satellite launches with incredible organisations. We’re thrilled to work alongside some of the world’s leading space innovators to help transform industries down on Earth,” said Fleet co-founder and CEO, Flavia Tata Nardini.
Fleet’s longer term plan is to have five satellites in 20 low earth orbits at a height of 580kms by 2021, depending on how fast it can secure launch services.
The satellites will provide communications links for Fleet’s gateway devices that will gather data from sensors and other IoT devices. The devices will enable local data processing with embedded edge computing and communicate to the satellites using Fleet Space’s own variant of the LoRaWAN (low powered wide area networking) technology designed for IoT.
There will be around 12 ground stations to route traffic to and from the satellites.
Earlier this year, Fleet began selling its ‘Portal’, an IoT hub that takes data from sensors within a 15km radius, and delivers only the most pertinent information via edge computing.
With just one satellite, the firm will be able to cover 90 per cent of the Earth, and “establish a global network that will connect the world’s sensors and devices, for free,” it said.
By providing connection to many of the 75 billion sensors expected to cover the world over the next decade, Fleet will help “bring mass-scale efficiencies for industries like agriculture, mining, and logistics,” it said.
“Our world is facing huge challenges in the upcoming years with exponential population growth, rapid resource depletion, intensifying extreme weather events and heightening environmental issues,” Tata Nardini said.
“At Fleet, our constellation of nanosatellites will power the next industrial revolution, giving businesses new access to data and connectivity, so that many of these issues can be solved, from space,” she added.
Pilot projects involving “precision agriculture and virtual fences to maritime logistics and mining” are already underway the company said.