The Swarm Technologies constellation of small ‘Nano’ SpaceBee satellites achieved notoriety back in September 2018 when the company behind the system cheekily launched 4 of its craft into orbit aboard an Indian rocket. The problem was they had not been licensed to launch, or operate while in orbit. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) was not pleased and fined the business $900,000.
The criticism was not helped insofar as the FCC had earlier specifically forbidden Swarm to launch satellites.
California-based Swarm wants its fleet of satellites to serve Internet of Things applications and it has established ground stations in the US, UK, Antarctica, Sweden, New Zealand and the Azores islands.
It has also now received all the necessary FCC permissions to continue its business plan. “Having received all regulatory approvals to operate commercially in the US, in several other countries, and over international waters, we are one step closer to providing affordable satellite connectivity to the world,” Swarm stated in a blog statement.
The company added that it would start services later this year with 30 ground stations ready to relay the constellations data.
The plan calls for 150 low orbiting satellites although the FCC permissions extend to 600 SpaceBees should the company want to expand its orbital portfolio.