Enabling IoT Connectivity Using Astrocast Nanosatellites

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The enterprises have collaborated on a bidirectional communication module that enables organisations to connect with remote assets in places where terrestrial networks are not available.

A bidirectional communication module created by the technology research firm CEA-Leti and the international satellite Internet of Things (IoT) network operator Astrocast enables businesses to connect with their remote assets in places where terrestrial networks are not available. The L-band chip in the module, which is based on an architecture created by CEA-Leti, enables communication between Astrocast’s customers and field assets across its network. The system, which is integrated into Astrocast’s RF module known as Astronode S, was finished earlier this year as part of a project between the two businesses.

The chip’s architecture, as stated by the firms, is divided between the RF core and the digital processing and control units. It also supports Astrocast’s specific bidirectional ground-to-satellite protocol. The chip incorporates low-Earth orbit (LEO) satellite-specific capabilities, such as resilience to Doppler shift and satellite detection. The surface-mount, miniature module connects to Astrocast’s constellation of LEO satellites to communicate with equipment on the ground. The network primarily targets L-band applications for land transportation, agriculture, maritime, oil and gas, and environmental applications needing all-encompassing coverage.

The partners noted that a flexible collaboration model covering both the prototype and industrialisation phases was used to manage the project’s crucial time-to-market window. “An accelerated time-to-market goal drove this project from the outset,” said Michel Durr, CEA-Leti’s business-development manager, in the prepared statement. “We pioneered this RF technology in 2019, and our team customized it for Astrocast up to production in only three years.”

In order to speed up the transition from prototype to production, Durr pointed out that CEA-industrial Leti’s tester was essential. It allowed for parallel prototype characterisation on the tester and in the lab.  In addition, he said in the release, “this process enabled us to give completely validated inputs to Astrocast’s industrialization partner for an easier industrial test-program development.”This process provided a short-loop debug capability with all skills available at CEA-Leti, and enabled us to deliver fully validated inputs to Astrocast’s industrialization partner for an easier industrial test-program development,”



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