Satellite company Sky and Space Global has successfully launched three nano-satellites that it confidently predicts will revolutionize the communications sector and help power the growth of the IoT.
The satellites, which the company has nicknamed the ‘3 Diamonds’, were launched on Friday 23 June, from a launch system belonging to Indian space agency ISRO at its Satish Dhawan Space Centre on Sriharikota, a barrier island in the Bay of Bengal.
Since then, Sky and Space Global has announced that it has made contact with the 3 Diamonds in orbit, performed testing and confirmed that they are functioning as they should be.
Said company CEO, Meir Moalem: “We are very pleased that our satellites are functioning according to plan in space, with no anomalies. This is the result of the hard work and rigorous testing and validation effort that we put into the launch preparation. I am proud of our professional team that continues to work night and day on the testing plan of our 3 Diamonds.”
In an interview with Internet of Business, Moalem explained why the company is confident that nano-satellites will enable it to deliver on its disruption plan.
“With continued advances in the miniaturization, electronic technology and the use of satellite constellations, nano-satellites are increasingly capable of performing commercial missions that previously required micro-satellites or larger satellites. This makes them increasingly popular in the space industry,” he said.
It also makes it possible to provide affordable satellite connectivity in remote locations that are currently underserved by traditional telecoms providers, he added. Thus, the company’s plan is to have as many as 200 satellites in equatorial orbit by 2020, providing full coverage of the equatorial areas of Earth, including South America, Central Africa, and Southeast Asia.
Satellite communications are an important element in IoT connectivity. Access to relatively low-cost access to satellite communications could be a benefit to those managing and operating sensor networks, particularly in remote regions. Market analyst firm Orbis Research recently published a report that forecasts the global satellite-enabled IoT market to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of almost 7% between 2017 and 2021.
A more affordable option?
According to Moalem, nano-satellites are cheaper to produce and launch, so capital expenditure is lower – but they are also less costly to run, too, because they can be managed by specialized satellite network management software.
“This allows Sky and Space Global to offer services of narrowband satellite communications at much more affordable prices than traditional satellite connectivity services,” he claims. “Therefore, the total capital and operational costs of Sky and Space Global is a fraction of the cost of competing services and is disrupting the market.”
Or, at least, it hopes to disrupt the market: the company will of course need the 3 Diamonds to start generating revenues by providing services to paying customers. For now, however, the signs that they will be able to do so – in time – look good.