Eutelsat Unveils ELO Constellation Project Dedicated to IoT

  • The company plans to make a total of 25 satellites operational by 2022.
  • The constellation’s first four operational satellites will be developed under the supervision of Loft Orbital and Clyde Space.
  • Eutelsat has partnered with Sigfox to enable integration between terrestrial and satellite IoT networks.
Representational Image

French satellite fleet operator Eutelsat Communications has launched a constellation project targeting the Internet of Things (IoT) market.

Named ELO constellation, the project aims to launch 25 nanosatellites dedicated to IoT in the next three years.

The construction of this nanosatellite constellation will begin with a first series of four satellites from Loft Orbital (ELO 1 and 2) and Clyde Space (ELO 3 and 4). With expected launch dates between 2020 and 2021, these four satellites will enter commercial service as soon as they are delivered into orbit, the company said in a press release.

If the first series proves successful, the company plans to add other satellites to the constellation, to make a total of 25 satellites operational by 2022.

“The investment required for the constellation is included in Eutelsat’s existing Capex outlook. The cost associated with each satellite will not exceed 1 million euros,” it stated.

Test satellite to be launched early next year

A nanosatellite ordered by Eutelsat from Tyvak International last year will be used as the test satellite of the project, and it is planned for launch early next year. The objective of this test satellite will be to confirm the technical performance of various waveforms between a satellite in low earth orbit and objects on the ground.

Low earth orbit is particularly suited for processing signals emitted by connected objects as it offers a ubiquitous satellite link, complementing terrestrial IoT networks, without increasing the cost or energy consumption of these objects.

Strategic partnership with Sigfox

Through ELO, Eutelsat aims to position itself as the partner of choice for IT integrators and terrestrial operators seeking to offer their customers worldwide coverage.

Eutelsat has signed a strategic partnership with leading IoT player Sigfox, which runs a unique global narrowband network dedicated to this segment across 65 countries.

Based on hybrid connected objects, whose data can be captured by both terrestrial networks and satellite, Sigfox will integrate the global coverage provided by the ELO constellation into its existing range of IoT connectivity services. This enhanced network coverage will open the door to many new use cases in areas like maritime transportation or logistics, but also the safety of people in emergency situations.

Eutelsat CEO Rodolphe Belmer commented, “We are delighted to be completing the first steps of our ELO constellation project, aimed at positioning Eutelsat in the nascent IoT segment. Our partnership with Sigfox enables worldwide coverage through the combination of satellite and terrestrial IoT. This relatively modest investment at Group level, which is fully scalable, enables Eutelsat to access an additional potential growth lever in the context of its Connectivity strategy.”