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FCC Approves Swarm Constellation of 150 Satellites

18 Oct 2019, 18:47 UTC
FCC Approves Swarm Constellation of 150 Satellites
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Swarm satellite (Credit: Swarm Technologies)

by Douglas MessierManaging Editor

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has issued a license to Swarm Technologies to operate a non-voice communications satellite constellation composed of 150 satellites smaller than an 1U CubeSat.

“Over 20 entities filed letters in support of granting Swarm’s application. These entities plan to utilize Swarm’s network to provide a variety of communications services in support of agribusiness, transportation, and academic and scientific research,” the FCC said in its memorandum approving the application.

A Swarm spacecraft measures only 11 x 11 x .2.8 cm (4.3 x 4.3 x 1.1 in) excluding its deployed antenna and weighs a mere 0.31 to 0.45 kg (0.68 to 0.99 lb) . That is about one quarter of the size of an 1U CubeSat that measures 10 cm x 10 cm x 10 cm (3.94 x 3.94 x 3.94 in) and weighs about 1.3 kg (2.87 lb).

Swarm’s constellation will use very high frequency (VHF) bands to provide these services from operational altitudes of 300-550 km (186-311 miles) and orbital inclinations ranging from equatorial equatorial to polar.

“The total number of satellites deployed during the license term, including technically identical replacement satellites deployed pursuant to 47 ...

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