European firms Nano Avionics, KSAT and Antwerp Space have pooled in funds worth $11.3 million to create a constellation of satellites for setting up connectivity for Internet of Things and would operate it until an actual service provider is selected for these activities. Half of this $11 million has been contributed by European Commission while a quarter has been contributed by European Space Agency and private investors. They want to build a constellation of satellites for creating Internet of Things and sensors after which the service activities will be managed by a third party selected by partners.
Most probably a customer with personal IoT paylods would provide these services to customers while back operations of space operations would be handled by the three partners. CEO of Nano Avionics Vytenis Buzas elaborating on the operations and partnership stated that this funding will support an initial constellation of two to three cubesat that will be launched into low earth orbit by 2020 and discussions are already underway with trial customers. Depending on the results of previous missions the consortium will keep the size of the constellation between 20–70 satellites for initial stage but will aim to reach its real time goals by max 2023.
Before sending this operational constellation up the team of Antwerp Space is making a new Ka band inter satellite which will link these satellites and allow them to communicate from lower earth orbit to geostationary orbit satellites. CEO Buzas stated that the consortium is also engaged in discussions with five operators of geostationary satellites for leasing their unused bandwidth and is setting up partnerships for relaying IoT traffic which had been collected over regions that do not have KSAT ground stations. The funding of ESA which is provided through Advanced Research in Telecom Systems division will be spent in development of inter-satellite links said the agency.
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