European satellite operator Eutelsat Communications is set to launch 25 nanosatellites over the next three years to provide connections for devices in the Internet of Things (IoT)
The first two nanosats, each costing up to E1m rather than tens of millions of euros for larger space systems, will be built by Loft Orbital in San Francisco and the next two by Clyde Space in Glasgow.
The constellation, called ELO, will work with the Sigfox IoT network across transport, oil and gas, and agriculture applications.
The expected launch dates in 2020 and 2021 will see the first four satellites enter commercial service as soon as they are reach orbit. If these are successful, other satellites will be added to the constellation, to reach a total of 25 satellites operational by 2022.
This constellation project follows on from an initial nanosatellite ordered by Eutelsat from Tyvak International last year and planned for launch early next year. This test satellite will confirm the technical performance of various waveforms between a satellite in low Earth orbit and objects on the ground.
The strategic partnership with Sigfox, which will integrate the global coverage provided by the ELO constellation into its existing range of IoT connectivity services. This opens up applications in areas like maritime transportation or logistics, but also the safety of people in emergency situations.
“We are delighted to be completing the first steps of our ELO constellation project, aimed at positioning Eutelsat in the nascent IoT segment,” said Rodolphe Belmer, CEO of Eutelsat. “Our partnership with Sigfox enables worldwide coverage through the combination of satellite and terrestrial IoT. This relatively modest investment at Group level, which is fully scalable, enables Eutelsat to access an additional potential growth lever in the context of its Connectivity strategy.”