SpaceX, one of the largest private space companies is in the process of buying an IoT company called Swarm Technologies. Swam Technologies is an Internet of Things (IoT) company that plans to use nanosatellites as part of its IoT network:
Disclaimer: This information comes from a filing with the United States Federal Communications Commission (FCC).
There hasn’t been any public statement made either by SpaceX’s owner Elon Musk or by the confounder of Swarm Technologies and its current CEO Dr.Sara Spangelo.
The only reason we know about this is that someone at CNBC’s business new channel spotted a request for licenses transfer from Swarm Technologies to SpaceX.
Once the filing is approved, Swarm technologies will become a subsidiary of SpaceX.
So, what do Swarm Technologies exactly do and why did it attract the attention of the space giant SpaceX? Well, they make small satellites that can be deployed as a swarm and cover large areas, if not the entire planet. This constellation of satellites will potentially give global access to the internet.
This is exactly what SpaceX’s own Starlink project is hoping to achieve. Therefore, this acquisition makes sense:
And why it is a common practice, with large companies like SpaceX absorbing smaller companies to pool their resources, expertise, and to stop competition.
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It is all about the satellites
The big difference between the satellites Swarm is developing and Starlink’s is scale. Swarm’s unit has dimensions of about 4x4x1-inch and weighs around 14 ounces.
These mini-cube-shaped satellites can be tightly fitted into launch vehicles:
Swarm technologies wanted to make them as small as possible so they could launch these at a fraction of the cost of other satellites. According to Swarm technologies, their company is properly vertically integrated. Meaning from the hardware to the software, everything is made in-house:
And according to the FCC license, Swarm Technologies is authorized to operate non-voice, non-geostationary mobile satellites service in 37-138 MHz and 148 -150.05 MHz bands. And it has already launched about 150 satellites into orbit.
The future of SpaceX’s Starlink?
This deal mostly looks like SpaceX is just absorbing all the expertise and won’t be changing their own strategy with Starlink:
SpaceX has already deployed over 1700 starling satellites into low earth orbit. And some early-bird users have already been using Starlink for a few months now. The early reviews are amazing, as people living totally off the grid now have access to high-speed internet.
The future of satellite internet does look exciting, and this acquisition might help SpaceX accelerate its process of getting a fully function coverage of the globe.
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