08 March 2018
Eutelsat has commissioned its first LEO (low Earth orbit) satellite.
Nano- and microsatellite specialist Tyvak International, a subsidiary of US and Italy headquartered Terran Orbital Corporation, will build the spacecraft for the operator.
Eutelsat LEO for Objects (ELO) will be used to assess the performance of low Earth orbit satellites in providing narrowband connectivity for the IoT.
According to the company, low Earth orbit is particularly well-suited for this.
It says LEO 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 is scheduled for launch in 2019. It will backhaul information from objects located in areas that are not served by terrestrial networks and offer redundancy on existing terrestrial network coverage.
Located on a sun-synchronous orbit between 500km and 600km in altitude, the satellite will collect data from connected objects across the globe equipped with the same omni-directional antennas already used by terrestrial IoT networks.
Data will then be transmitted daily to a ground station located in the Norwegian archipelago of Svalbard in the Arctic Ocean.
Eutelsat will work with Sigfox which runs a global narrowband network dedicated to the IoT.
Sigfox will analyse the spectrum used by the satellite in ISMfrequency bands, and process data from objects.
ELO will also test connectivity in other frequency bands.
Eutelsat hopes that the synergies developed through the partnership with Sigfox, as well as with other strategic alliances in the telecom industry, should open up new opportunities in this fast-growing market.
“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,” says Jean-Hubert Lenotte, chief strategy officer, Eutelsat.
“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.”