WASHINGTON — Global satellite operator Eutelsat of Paris is buying additional small satellites for a planned Internet of Things network, having decided to expand the envisioned low Earth orbit system before it has launched the first demonstration satellite.
Eutelsat ordered a cubesat called ELO, or Eutelsat LEO for Objects, from Tyvak International in March 2018. Eutelsat spokeswoman Marie-Sophie Ecuer said ELO is scheduled to launch in the coming months, but that more satellites are planned.
“We are already working on the follow-up to the nano-satellite we ordered last year, ELO, because we are convinced that low orbit satellites are particularly well suited to low-speed connectivity for objects,” she said. “The project we are working on includes a very limited number of satellites, which are currently being ordered.”
Ecuer declined to provide additional details on the satellite system.
Yohann Leroy, Eutelsat’s deputy CEO and chief technology officer, said in a September interview that a constellation would be a “natural follow-up to our first nano-satellite.”
Leroy expressed skepticism toward constellations designed for residential broadband internet connections like those of SpaceX and OneWeb, citing higher costs for broadband systems, and antennas as roadblocks.
“There are fundamental differences from a technical ...