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Sateliot to invest USD 5.1m in R&D for nanosat constellation

This is the first phase of a project worth over USD 22.5m, which represents the largest R&D investment in the EU's 5G satellite field.
Jaume Sanpera.

Sateliot, the first satellite telecommunications operator that will provide global and continuous connectivity to all the elements that will make up the universe of the Internet of Things (IoT) under a 5G architecture, will invest 4.6m euros (approx. $5.1m) in two years in three new R&D projects that will allow the deployment and proper functioning of its nanosatellite constellation.

This is the first phase of a larger project of more than $22.5m, which represents the largest R&D investment in the field of 5G satellite in the European Union. Thus, the company begins a second stage towards the launch of its first nanosatellite 3B5GSAT, which is expected to leave the base in Baiknour (Kazakhstan) next November.

Thus, at this time its activity is focused on the design and development of the necessary adaptations to comply with the 5G NB-IoT communication protocol so that it can offer a global connection once its LEO nanosatellite constellation is deployed.

With these three research projects in which a team of more than 20 people are working, experts in the areas of telecommunications, space technology and software engineering, Sateliot will implement its business model based on wholesale agreements with telecommunications operators that will extend its coverage beyond its service area.

The first project consists of adapting the NB-IoT waveform so that both IoT terminals and land-based mobile operators can connect to Sateliot’s LEO satellite network whenever they do not have coverage or are deployed in areas where there is no classic mobile communication infrastructure.

The second of these R&D projects focusses on a novel adaptation of the network core that allows (always respecting the interfaces imposed by 3GPP) to connect, on the one hand, all operators with a 4G/5G core and offer them coverage extension service, and on the other hand, to connect them to the company’s LEO satellite constellation. This is a new, patent-pending core that is part of the company’s know-how.

Finally, it will invest part of its R&D budget in the manufacture of a new payload that will have maximum processing capacities and will allow an unprecedented improvement in coverage in the nanosatellite industry. Likewise, within this project development framework, Sateliot has also started the procedures with the International Telecommunications Union (ITU), through the Spanish Administration, to provide the necessary radio spectrum to its constellation of up to 100 nanosatellites.

Jaume Sanpera, Sateliot’s CEO, commented that “with this step forward, the company shows its firm commitment to research and development, in line with the recovery plan proposed by the EU, which focuses on digitalisation and commitment to new technologies”.

“Furthermore, it will serve to provide innovation and competitiveness to the space sector, one of the great engines of the economy due to its high added value, its capacity to generate employment and large investments in the coming years.”