Lithuania-based small satellite manufacturer NanoAvionics announced the upcoming launch of two of its satellites carrying three different customers onboard an Indian PSLV flight slated to take place in April 2019. One of the two satellites will be shared by two Internet of Things (IoT) companies as they test their respective technologies.
AST&Science “BlueWalker 1” is a 6U satellite using the NanoAvionics M6P bus and will be the first of a series of satellites to test AST technologies in space. No details on exactly what technologies will be tested on first flight. BlueWalker 1 was built and the AST payload integrated in only a month, according to NanoAvionics CEO Vytenis Buzas, due to pre-integration and pre-qualification of M6P subsystems.
SpaceWorks Orbital and Lacuna Space will share the second M6P satellite. SpaceWorks is qualifying its low-cost IoT architecture for its Blink Astro business line. Currently, Blink Astro offers an agricultural ioT solution and plans to expand into other IoT applications. Lacuna Space will receive LoRaWAN signals from terrestrial IoT devices and relay data through its cloud-based network to participants in its beta program.
NanoAvionics says its M6P bus has up to 5U payload volume available and uses standard hardware and software interfaces, enabling project teams to accelerate satellite integration timeframes and help define payload interface(s). Using the NanoAvionics M6P rideshare program enables customers to focus on the payload while NanoAvionics takes care of launch integration and logistics, frequency allocation, and satellite operations.
“Ride-sharing opportunities let new space projects quickly prove their technologies to customers and investors alike,” Buzas said. “At the same time, our customers can significantly reduce their time-to-market. By helping our customers at the earliest stages of their development, we form a solid foundation for long-term partnerships as they deploy their nano-satellite constellations.”
AST&Science, based in Midland, Texas, is a majority investor in NanoAvionics. The company was founded by Abel Avellan, the founder and CEO of EMC. Last year AST secured a “significant” investment from Cisneros and built an 85,000 square foot facility at the Midland International Air and Space Port for high-volume satellite manufacturing and its corporate headquarters. AST also has R&D, engineering and manufacturing capabilities in Maryland and Europe.