Author Topic: SpaceX buying Swarm Technologies (satellite IoT provider)  (Read 24532 times)

Online gongora

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Re: SpaceX buying Swarm Technologies (satellite IoT provider)
« Reply #20 on: 08/10/2021 02:19 am »
It's been suggested elsewhere that it could also be a protection move, as swarm spacebees are an operational risk to Starlink sats? Kill off the nominal spacebee constellation and incorporate the hardware onto Starlink sats, so they don't have to dodge the hard to spot spacebees all the time?

That's an interesting notion for venture capital though, be enough of an annoyance to Starlink to get bought out...

That does not sound plausible

Offline su27k

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Re: SpaceX buying Swarm Technologies (satellite IoT provider)
« Reply #21 on: 08/10/2021 03:33 am »
It's been suggested elsewhere that it could also be a protection move, as swarm spacebees are an operational risk to Starlink sats? Kill off the nominal spacebee constellation and incorporate the hardware onto Starlink sats, so they don't have to dodge the hard to spot spacebees all the time?

I think that's a nice bonus, but hard to see this being the main motivation.


I was thinking about it from the other end:  how could SpaceX increase the utility of the VHF service if the mass and power constraints were lifted almost entirely?  This assumes that SpaceX actually wants the already-approved license.

SpaceBees are tiny, only 400g. Even if you increase mass budget by 10x, it's still a tiny addon on a Starlink satellite, won't be the primary payload.

Offline dondar

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Re: SpaceX buying Swarm Technologies (satellite IoT provider)
« Reply #22 on: 08/11/2021 09:11 pm »
I was thinking about it from the other end:  how could SpaceX increase the utility of the VHF service if the mass and power constraints were lifted almost entirely?  This assumes that SpaceX actually wants the already-approved license.

I don't think it's likely that increasing the mass and power would really increase the utility at all.  It's a tiny slice of frequencies.
If they will move spacebee hardware on starlink (I don't think they will, but hypothetically), they can improve system performance considerably. Big antennas improve signal selectivity and sensitivity considerably both for receiving and transmitting, ubiquitous internet access simplifies transmission logistics. It means that earth sensor part can be father simplified and improved reducing both size and power consumption (it is very big deal for remote sensor systems).


SpaceX with their 2 week launch cadence are about to offer sensor servicing for measurement campaigns. It is a very big deal for big organizations.
Most importantly SpaceX will provide Swarm Tech their name which means that a small company suddenly becomes an equal competitor to Thales Alenia. Considering that technically Swarm are very solid, it is incredible win for the companies supporting Swarm.
....

Offline joek

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Re: SpaceX buying Swarm Technologies (satellite IoT provider)
« Reply #23 on: 08/11/2021 09:35 pm »
A big part of Swarm's play is cheap and ubiquitous ground points (modems). Starlink will not add to that. Co-manifested with Starlink might help eliminating-minimizing dedicated Swarm ground stations, with a direct connect to Starlink back-haul. It would also help with frequency of contact with ground points and overall Swarm bandwidth.

Much more speculative, but also interesting IMO, is application of Swarm to, e.g., Luna and Mars. Looks like an interesting option if you want a cheap low orbit set of sats and a bunch of cheap ground sensors. Achilles heel for that appears to be Swarm's dependence on GPS (both ground and in-orbit segments).

Expect that may be one reason the deal is structured the way it is... Swarm will continue with focus on Earth market; SpaceX leverages Swarm technology for BLEO applications. Again, highly speculative, but seems a potentially good fit.

Offline dondar

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Re: SpaceX buying Swarm Technologies (satellite IoT provider)
« Reply #24 on: 08/16/2021 02:00 pm »
"Digital beam-forming" intrinsically includes spacial filtering. I.e. in order to connect to specific dishy the starlink satellite forms very narrow beam targeting specific geographic region. Satellite can know dishy position or from static customers tables or from the second line transmissions. The communication lines like Swarm. which are design to transmit simple codes like say GPS coordinates when needed.
In fact Swarm channels being robust, low latency and cheap are the best hardware alternative to software (traject trackers) I expected SpaceX to use. True mobile Starlink is  closer than we think.

Offline FutureSpaceTourist

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Re: SpaceX buying Swarm Technologies (satellite IoT provider)
« Reply #25 on: 09/07/2021 03:44 pm »
https://twitter.com/jeff_foust/status/1435244519088328704

Quote
[SpaceX CFO Bret] Johnsen, on SpaceX’s acquisition of Swarm Technologies: found a company that had interesting IP and a team we can leverage. We have not done acquisitions in the past, but would consider something in future if it met right requirements. #SATShow

Offline mlindner

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Re: SpaceX buying Swarm Technologies (satellite IoT provider)
« Reply #26 on: 09/11/2021 12:19 am »
It means that SpaceX is not after Swarm brains. (the arrangements would be done otherwise).

Agreed, but just poking around today, I found Sara Spangelo (Swarm's CEO) to be impressive.  Wouldn't be surprised to see her run Starlink someday, if she would want that.

I knew her personally to some extent and we worked in the same lab at the same university (I was an undergrad and she was a post doc). 2 years back or so I got a personal tour from her of Swarm's "building" (a single small office room with CNC mill, clean room, and engineering desks) and heard the inside story of the FCC "pirate launch" (the NDA'ed details are very fascinating and not really what the media reported). She's very smart and quick thinking. It wouldn't surprise me to see her promoted a bunch within SpaceX.

Here's the previous thread about Swarm. https://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=47072.0
« Last Edit: 09/11/2021 12:25 am by mlindner »
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Offline su27k

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Re: SpaceX buying Swarm Technologies (satellite IoT provider)
« Reply #27 on: 10/20/2021 03:19 am »
https://twitter.com/joroulette/status/1450458212713500685

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FCC approves transfer of Swarm licenses to SpaceX as the two companies merge

Offline su27k

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Re: SpaceX buying Swarm Technologies (satellite IoT provider)
« Reply #28 on: 03/23/2022 03:10 am »
Swarm launched satellites on Astra mission

Quote from: SpaceNews
Swarm is a rare case of a company acquired by SpaceX. During a separate panel discussion at Satellite 2022 March 22, Gwynne Shotwell, president and chief operating officer of SpaceX, said the only other company SpaceX has acquired in its 20-year history was a machine shop several years earlier.

“It was a very interesting company,” she said of Swarm, citing its ability to build out a satellite network despite limited resources. “We were quite interested in how they did they do it, how did they pull it together on that kind of budget with that number of people.”

“And the people are great, so that was really what that was about,” she added. “A very like-minded company, albeit much tinier.”

Offline Cheapchips

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Offline CuddlyRocket

Interview with Swarm CEO, Sara Spangelo.

Looking forward to finding out what those "lots of other programs that hopefully we get to talk about in the future" will be. Also the synergies between Starlink consumer internet and Swarm's connected devices.

Online Comga

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Re: SpaceX buying Swarm Technologies (satellite IoT provider)
« Reply #31 on: 07/31/2022 03:41 pm »
Interview with Swarm CEO, Sara Spangelo.

Looking forward to finding out what those "lots of other programs that hopefully we get to talk about in the future" will be. Also the synergies between Starlink consumer internet and Swarm's connected devices.

Enticing, but the only “other program” mentioned specifically is forest fire detection in collaboration with a Berlin, Germany company Dryad. It sounds like Swarm IoT “sandwich sized” cubesats would collect the alarms from Dryad’s gateways. Each gateway would cover 100 sensors and each sensor would have a 100 meter detection radius.
There are roughly Pi billion square kilometers of forest in the US.  Covering that with one sensor per Pi*0.1^2 km would take 100 BILLION sensors for “just” the US.
This competes with another Berlin outfit that launched FOREST and which plans to put MidWave IR sensors in a few dozen 3U cubesats, and other wildfire sensing efforts. 
It is not the obvious “killer app” for Swarm.
What kind of wastrels would dump a perfectly good booster in the ocean after just one use?

Offline su27k

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Re: SpaceX buying Swarm Technologies (satellite IoT provider)
« Reply #32 on: 09/21/2022 05:34 am »
https://twitter.com/longmier/status/1572279906171748352

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GPS track your equipment for $99 and $5/mo via the Swarm satellite network all around the world, including oceans. No roaming fees, no setup fees. Battery or DC power.

Offline RedLineTrain

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Re: SpaceX buying Swarm Technologies (satellite IoT provider)
« Reply #33 on: 09/21/2022 04:29 pm »
A question on that.  Does Swarm have landing rights in China, etc.?

Offline mlindner

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Re: SpaceX buying Swarm Technologies (satellite IoT provider)
« Reply #34 on: 11/03/2022 06:33 pm »
A question on that.  Does Swarm have landing rights in China, etc.?

China would be hard pressed to even find a Swarm transmitter, even if they didn't allow it. Something that transmits only once an hour or less would be darn difficult to triangulate. Also it wouldn't surprise me if Swarm is just waiting until someone starts caring before trying to cover the regulations in this area.
LEO is the ocean, not an island (let alone a continent). We create cruise liners to ride the oceans, not artificial islands in the middle of them. We need a physical place, which has physical resources, to make our future out there.

Offline kevin-rf

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Re: SpaceX buying Swarm Technologies (satellite IoT provider)
« Reply #35 on: 11/03/2022 08:57 pm »
Considering how heavily invested other Musk enterprises are in China, and Starlink only being available where they have legal landing rights to provide service. I can not see them even thinking about incurring the wrath of China of doing something like that. The risk is too great.
« Last Edit: 11/04/2022 09:56 am by kevin-rf »
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Online M.E.T.

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Re: SpaceX buying Swarm Technologies (satellite IoT provider)
« Reply #36 on: 11/03/2022 10:56 pm »
Moving along from the unimportant geopolitical questions ( ;D), what’s the revenue potential of this service?

Offline su27k

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Re: SpaceX buying Swarm Technologies (satellite IoT provider)
« Reply #37 on: 11/04/2022 12:24 am »
https://twitter.com/thesheetztweetz/status/1588222248707497984

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SpaceX is now advertising Swarm satellite Internet of Things connectivity on its Starlink website, with IoT service at $5 per month:

https://swarm.space

To be more precise, they added an "IoT" menu item on starlink.com which links to https://swarm.space

Online M.E.T.

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Re: SpaceX buying Swarm Technologies (satellite IoT provider)
« Reply #38 on: 11/04/2022 01:56 am »
https://twitter.com/thesheetztweetz/status/1588222248707497984

Quote
SpaceX is now advertising Swarm satellite Internet of Things connectivity on its Starlink website, with IoT service at $5 per month:

https://swarm.space

To be more precise, they added an "IoT" menu item on starlink.com which links to https://swarm.space

This is what I was referring to above. What is the potential revenue impact here?

How many additional $5/month subscribers can this offering potentially target worldwide? 10,000? 1 million? 100 million?


Offline mlindner

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Re: SpaceX buying Swarm Technologies (satellite IoT provider)
« Reply #39 on: 11/12/2022 08:45 am »
Considering how heavily invested other Musk enterprises are in China, and Starlink only being available where they have legal landing rights to provide service. I can not see them even thinking about incurring the wrath of China of doing something like that. The risk is too great.

They'd have to add active restrictions and engineering to the system to prevent it transmitting in China. Given that transmitters have no GPS receivers on them and the satellites themselves being omnidirectional, there is no way to disable it from working in China. So Elon doesn't really have a choice in the matter. If he was even aware of it in the first place. I've not heard him mention Swarm ever.
LEO is the ocean, not an island (let alone a continent). We create cruise liners to ride the oceans, not artificial islands in the middle of them. We need a physical place, which has physical resources, to make our future out there.

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