Eutelsat orders first IoT small sat
Eutelsat Communications announced today it is buying a smallsat to experiment with Internet of Things (IoT) applications. Tyvak International SRL, a subsidiary of Terran Orbital Corporation, will build Eutelsat LEO for Objects (ELO).
ELO will be "used to assess the performance of low earth orbit (LEO) satellites in providing narrowband connectivity for objects," according to the press release, and be working with Sigfox on analyzing spectrum usage in ISM bands, as well as processing data from objects. Scheduled for launch in 2019, the small sat will also test connectivity in other frequency bands.
Eutelsat touts LEO as "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."
IoT LEO is getting crowded. Established players like Iridium and ORBCOMM are being nudged at from the bottom by lower-cost cubesat-based startups that can launch a few satellites for under $5 million and build an entire constellation of 50 or more satellites for $50 million or less.