NanoAvionics UK Ltd. and UK satellite communications provider Lacuna Space, both based at Harwell Campus Space Cluster, signed recently a second contract to integrate the Lacuna Space LoRa-based Space Gateway into NanoAvionics’ M6P nanosatellite bus, which will be launched in the fourth quarter this year via a Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV). The two companies collaborated on the Lacuna Space technology demonstration mission launched in April 2019.
This new agreement will add a M6P-based satellite to join Lacuna Space’s internet of things (IoT) satellite constellation aimed at optimising the performance of the payloads and then demonstrating the system in tests with users in many locations around the world, to validate the performance of the pilot service.
This will be the fourth Lacuna Space’s satellite launched this year with Lacuna Space LoRa IoT Gateway.
The NanoAvionics M6P is a preconfigured 6U nanosatellite bus, suitable for high diversity of commercial and scientific missions. Its standardised design and configuration allows shorter lead times and reduced costs. M6P incorporates a green propulsion system and enables missions once reserved for much larger satellites.
M6P-based satellites can perform maneuvers necessary for constellation deployment, formation flights, drag compensation and orbit maintenance. When reaching end-of-life, the propulsion system will send the small satellite on a course to re-enter Earth’s atmosphere to burn up.
“The M6P nanosatellite bus is ideally suited for IoT communications,” NanoAvionics chief executive officer Vytenis J. Buzas said. “We are excited to continue our relationship with Lacuna Space as it pioneers a new form of ubiquitous, low-cost IoT communications.”
Lacuna Space is deploying a constellation of 32 nanosatellites in Low Earth Orbit (LEO) to form the Lacuna Network. The LoRa-based Space Gateway on each satellite in the network uses the long-range LoRaWAN communications protocol to receive short data messages from IoT devices on the ground or at sea.
As the satellites travel in 500-kilometer polar orbits, the Lacuna Network will provide ubiquitous coverage for devices in regions without reliable wireless coverage.
“Satellites in the Lacuna Network will receive data directly from inexpensive battery-powered LoRa IoT devices, even in the most remote parts of the world.” Lacuna Space chief executive officer Rob Spurret said. “Following the successful progress of our demonstration mission earlier this year, we are happy to be working with NanoAvionics in the further deployment of our constellation, thanks to support from ESA, UK Space Agency and our partner Semtech Corporation.”
NanoAvionics will integrate Lacuna Space’s Space Gateway into the M6P bus as well as provide additional testing and launch services. The Indian Space Research Organisation has scheduled the satellite for launch on the PSLV in the fourth quarter of this year.