FOSSASAT-1 picosatellite (Source: FOSSA Systems)

Fossa Systems successfully launches its first LoRaWAN satellite

Last week, Fossa Systems successfully launched and is now operating its first satellite capable of directly communicating with LoRaWAN devices on the ground. The tiny satellite is successfully communicating with Fossa and testing its ability to pick up LoRaWAN information.

FOSSASAT-1 was put into orbit by a Rocket Lab launch taking place from the Rocket Lab New Zealand LC-1 launch complex. The “Running Out Of Finger” launch took off at 08:18 UTC on December 6, 2019 carrying a total of seven satellites, including six Alba Orbital satellites built on the Pocket Qube standard. It was Rocket Lab’s tenth successful launch to date.

Built to the open source PocketQube 1P standard, FOSSASAT-1 weighs in at 200 grams and is a 50 millimeter cube in shape. The satellite was built and launched at a cost of around 25,000 euros and could be the first of a fleet of low-cost LoRaWAN satellite put into orbit to collect information from IoT devices.

The FOSSASAT-1 mission hasn’t been without its share of hiccups. It took hours to establish communications with the satellite and locate it in the sky. Fossa is currently working on fully deploying the satellite’s solar cells, according to the company’s latest social media posts.

LoRaWAN servicing via satellite is becoming a crowded market, with startups trying to find the best combination of time-to-market, cost, and customers. Lacuna Space conducted LoRaWAN service tests earlier this year with a hosted payload onboard a cubesat and continues to pursue other hosted payload opportunities by sharing a satellite as well as operating its own dedicated satellites in the future. Hiber and Fleet Space Technologies are using small gateways on the ground to communicate with LoRaWAN devices and then relay signals to a satellite passing overhead.

Doug Mohney

Doug Mohney, a principal at Cidera Analytics, has been working and writing about IT and satellite industries for over 20 years. His real world experience including stints at two start-ups, a commercial internet service provider that went public in 1997 for $150 million and a satellite internet broadband company. Follow him on Twitter at DougonTech or contact him at dmohney139 (at) gmail (dot) com.

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