SpaceX Acquires Swarm Technologies, A Small Satellite Mobile Broadband Constellation

Evelyn Arevalo by Evelyn Arevalo August 07, 2021

SpaceX Acquires Swarm Technologies, A Small Satellite Mobile Broadband Constellation

Swarm Technologies, Inc. is a private company working to build an Internet of Things (IoT) constellation of very small satellites (CubeSats) in low Earth orbit to provide mobile broadband data anywhere globally. On July 16, SpaceX acquired Swarm Technologies, it is now a direct wholly-owned subsidiary of SpaceX, according to a Federal Communications Commission (FCC) filing.

In the FCC filing, the company requests the Commission “consent to transfer to SpaceX control of the earth and space station licenses held by Swarm, a U.S.-licensed satellite operator in the non-voice, non-geostationary mobile-satellite service,” the company wrote; Stating that the merger “will serve the public interest by strengthening the combined companies’ ability to provide innovative satellite services that reach unserved and underserved parts of the world.”

"Swarm and SpaceX respectfully request that the Commission act expeditiously to approve the proposed transfer of control," they stated. 

SpaceX is working to build a robust Starlink broadband constellation to beam internet to rural regions. The company launches two fleets of 60 satellites almost on a monthly basis, each satellite is around the size of an office desk. To date, it operates around 1,740 satellites out of over 4,400 it plans to initially deploy. To connect to the Starlink satellite network, customers use a pizza-sized dish antenna that SpaceX says features technology more advanced than what fighter jets use.

Swarm Technologies developed a portable antenna and IoT device that connects to their SpaceBees constellation of 150 small CubeSat satellites, around the size of a handheld box weighing under five pounds. Swarm’s website says the service is beneficial for farmers in rural regions where there is no cellular data services. “This out-of-the-box satellite communications kit allows even non-techy users to send GPS locations and messages through their phones, and more technical users to build IoT sensors that can relay data through the Swarm network from anywhere on the planet,” Swarm’s website says. 

SpaceX mentions in the FCC filing that Swarm “is in the process of gaining market access for its U.S.-based constellation in other jurisdictions. It recently began
offering services to customers in the agriculture, maritime, energy, environmental, and transportation sectors, among others in need of global satellite connectivity for IoT devices.” 

Featured Image Source: Swarm Technologies





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