Operational communications with the smallsat in LEO were established shortly after the launch. For this latest mission, NanoAvionics partnered with Germany-based EXOlaunch, which provided the deployer and launch services onboard a Soyuz-2 rocket.
Despite the ongoing pandemic, NanoAvionics and Lacuna Space, both based at the UK’s Harwell space cluster, managed to complete all the steps prior to launch, from contract signing to testing and integrating the payload into NanoAvionics’ M3P smallsat bus, within eight months.
The payload, developed and built by Lacuna Space, consists of an IoT (Internet of Things) Space Gateway, able to receive and share data from small, battery powered sensors even in remote areas on the ground or at sea with little or no connectivity. The mission has been part-funded and supported by the UK Space Agency and ESA.
This latest smallsat will join the Lacuna Network, which will provide a global internet-of-things service via a smallsat constellation in LEO and autonomous sensors everywhere on Earth. Using LoRa (long range) technology, the de-facto standard for low power connectivity, to communicate with the Space Gateway and batteries similar to those in wrist watches, make the Lacuna sensors low cost, extremely power efficient and able to last for years.
The LoRaWAN protocol allows for the latest security features to be included in devices and across the Lacuna Network. Applications for IoT services via the Lacuna Network stretch from agriculture, environmental, wildlife and marine monitoring to asset tracking and mobility.
Vytenis J. Buzas, CEO of NanoAvionics, said, “Having previously worked together to build and launch the first nanosatellite for Lacuna Space’s satellite system, I’m excited about this latest successful launch. Lacuna’s IoT sensor and gateway technology has the potential to open a whole new world of smart applications and collaborating on this has been fantastic, and allowed us to optimize our technology for integrating IoT payloads, too. In return, by employing a series of quality assurance tests and using our flight proven and standardized bus, we are able to combine high-quality performance with low cost and short integration cycles – a very attractive combination for our customers as shown by our continued business and revenue growth.”
Rob Spurrett, CEO Lacuna Space, said, “The speed with which Nano Avionics has managed to get this mission integrated and launched is very impressive, especially given all the current virus-related constraints. Thankfully, the back-log of commercial launches is now moving and our next launch after this will be another NanoAvionics platform. On behalf of Lacuna, I’d like to thank everybody at NanoAvionics for their support and professionalism.”