Friday, 29 May 2020

Nano-satellite company Swarm gets US approval for commercial launch

by Harry Baldock, Total Telecom
Tuesday 07 April 20

After two years of overcoming regulatory hurdles, the company will be ready to serve customers later this year

Swarm announced yesterday that it has finally received approval to begin commercial operations in the USA.   The road to acceptance has not been an easy one for the nano-satellite company. At their launch two  years ago, the company ran afoul of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) after it was revealed they had launched satellites despite FCC instructions not to do so…

Swarm announced yesterday that it has finally received approval to begin commercial operations in the USA.
 
The road to acceptance has not been an easy one for the nano-satellite company. At their launch two  years ago, the company ran afoul of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) after it was revealed they had launched satellites despite FCC instructions not to do so. 
Swarm at the time countered that their satellites were small enough that the regulations did not apply to them – their satellites are a quarter of the size of standard cubesats, just 2.5 x 10 x 10cm – but nonetheless found themselves in regulatory limbo.
 
Now, the final regulatory hurdles have been cleared, meaning Swarm will be ready to begin commercial offerings in the US later this year.
 
“We are thrilled to announce that Swarm is now fully licensed to launch our commercial offering. 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,” said Swarm CEO Sara Spangelo in a related blog post.
 
Swarms nano-satellite constellations goal is to provide a satellite data network primarily targetting the IoT, helping to facilitate such technology for the maritime and agricultural sectors, as well as providing connectivity to areas with inadequate ground infrastructures. 
 
As well as the US, the company currently has approval to operate in the UK, New Zealand, Germany, Sweden and even Antarctica and international waters. They plan to add many more countries to this list and anticipate having 30 ground stations installed “by the end of the summer”.
 
Swarm raised $25 million just over a year ago to build a fleet of 150 of their low-orbit nano-satellites. Nine have been launched so far, presumably now with many more to follow.
 
 
How are satellite companies repositioning themselves to take on the major operators? Find out at this year's Total Telecom Congress
 
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