Eutelsat is joining the LEO club of Low Earth Orbiting satellite-owners. Having earlier dismissed LEO satellites, it has now ordered a small nano-satellite to tap into expected growth in demand from Internet of Things (IoT) operators.
The satellite’s manufacturer is Tyvak International SRL, a subsidiary of Terran Orbital Corporation, a leading aerospace provider of nanosatellite and microsatellite vehicles and services.
Eutelsat says its ‘Eutelsat LEO for Objects (ELO)’ will be used to assess the performance of low earth orbit (LEO) satellites in providing narrowband connectivity for objects. The satellite operator will be drawing on the technology of Sigfox, which runs a unique global narrowband network dedicated to the IoT. The nano-satellite will operate 500-600 kms above the Earth.
The operator adds that Low earth orbit is particularly well-suited to narrowband connectivity for objects. “It offers a satellite link anywhere in the world, is complementary to terrestrial IoT networks, and does not impact the cost or the energy consumption of the objects. ELO, scheduled for launch in 2019, will backhaul information from objects located in areas that are not served by terrestrial networks and offer redundancy on existing terrestrial network coverage.”
Jean-Hubert Lenotte, Chief Strategy Officer at Eutelsat, commented: “With the expansion of the Internet of Things, new services are being developed in a wide range of sectors including smart cities, the mining industry, agriculture and logistics. We are delighted to be exploring new avenues through the development of this nano-satellite, which once again demonstrates the intrinsic complementarity between terrestrial networks and satellite technology. By analysing the compatibility of LEO and connected objects, and working with recognised partners in the field, Eutelsat aims to provide an innovative solution which will meet the needs of future clients.”