The Space Daily article Astrocast signs contract with GomSpace Sweden to deliver propulsion systems says in part

GomSpace Sweden - a subsidiary of GomSpace Group AB, has received an order from Astrocast to deliver a propulsion system for each of the 10 nanosatellites composing the first orbital plane of the new Astrocast constellation. The value of this order is 450.000 EUR and delivery of the propulsion systems will be in Q4 2018 and Q1 2019.

The Swiss company Astrocast is one of the leading pioneers in deploying nanosatellites to create a global Internet of Things (IoT) network. This will be the first propulsion system operating on a constellation of 3U cubesats.

This contract is a follow-on order after delivery of propulsion systems for the two precursor satellites that will be launched this fall. The system will allow Astrocast to ensure a more rapid deployment of each satellite in its intended position as well as collision avoidance maneuvers.

Question: What is the configuration of this satellite constellation? How may planes, what inclinations, etc.


1 Answer 1


This 2017 spacenews article says it'll be 8 satellites per polar orbit track, 8 planes, below 650km. That's a little lower than Iridium's ~800km, but that's obviously a close-enough analog.

They also talk about doing satellite-to-satellite communications among their 64 sats, so it seems very similar to a scaled-down Iridium.

SpaceNews spoke to Jordan and Karlsen about Else’s plans for the future.

SN: Your first satellites are scheduled to launch in 2018. What do you hope to learn?

Jordan: These two satellites will serve as demonstrators not only for the space segment, but to characterize the radio frequency link between the objects we have on the ground for the demonstration and the satellites. We are involving a couple of pilot customers who want to put the terminal on their equipment and test with us.

SN: With a non-geosynchronous satellite system, there will be a lot of motion between both moving terminals and satellites that all need to be tracked.

Jordan: We are not going to track the satellites with the terminals. We don’t need a permanent link with the satellite. We will have eight operational satellites per orbital plane, and eight different orbital planes in sun-synchronous polar orbits. We will communicate when the satellite is available. The more satellites we have, the more often you can communicate with the terminal, but we do not guarantee real-time. There will be a latency that depends on the number of satellites, ground stations, etc.

At the terminal level we have something extremely simple to reduce the cost and power level. We have a very small terminal basically the size of a stamp, and the antenna is also about the same size, so it can be used with a battery or a local power source and integrated into any type of outdoor equipment.


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