LoRaWAN non-profit FOSSA Systems will launch its first satellite on Rocket Lab’s tenth mission later this month. “Running Out Of Fingers” is slated for launch on November 25 New Zealand daylight time from Rocket Lab Launch Complex 1.
FOSSASAT-1 is one of six PocketQube microsatellites onboard the flight brokered to launch by PocketQube builder Alba Orbital. The PocketQube form factor is designed to further drive down satellite costs from the already-small Cubesat size. FOSSASAT-1 is a 1p size space craft 5 cm x 5 cm x 5 cm and will be launched at a cost of 25,000 euros; the organization didn’t put a price tag on how much it cost to build the satellite other than to say it would create the world’s first open source IoT network “for less than a cost of a car” with development and launch cost “under 30,000 EUR” according to its website.
Servicing LoRaWAN devices directly from satellite, or direct to orbit (DTO), has already been demonstrated and tested by Lacuna Space with Eutelsat planning to launch its own IoT demonstration satellite early next year for its larger ELO constellation. Hiber and Fleet Space Technologies support LoRaWAN though a ground-based gateway capable of servicing multiple devices within an area.
FOSSA Systems is taking an open source, open standards approach to its LoRaWAN satellite efforts. Open source documents for using the satellite will be posted at a future date. The organization hasn’t said if it or someone else will build more open source PocketQube satellites.
The latest Rocket Lab Electron rocket includes increased instrumentation and hardware improvements to test and evolve the first stage to ultimately being recovered and reused, reducing the cost of launch and increasing the frequency of launch.