Sky and Space Global, being the only company to use nano satellites for communication purposes enjoys a niche presence in the newspace ecosystem. Not only has it deployed three nano satellites, which are the three ‘diamonds’ to act as technology demonstrators, but it has also started a program for ‘pearls’, the future constellations that will provide 24/7 services to anyone in the equatorial region. By 2020, anyone on the equatorial region will have coverage for instant messaging, phone call services and machine to machine interaction. Interesting!!!
Let’s explore more through an interaction with Meir Moalem, CEO & Founder, Sky and Space Global.
The space industry is undergoing a revolution. Do you agree?
Yes, there’s a revolution going on in the world. There are a lot of startups, a lot of ideas, lot of business being developed across the world. And it’s happening in a very different pace than what we are used to. In the past, from having an idea to getting a satellite deployed in space, the time required would be five to ten years, but today with the new space ecosystem, you have an idea and within 12 to 24 months you already have an operating commercial satellite in space. So this is a very good thing that is happening and we are proud to be a part of this ecosystem. We are proud to be not only a part of this revolution, but also leading the curve and leading the pack with everything related to nano satellites, the technology and services.
Sky and Space Global has many ‘firsts’ to its credit. Please elaborate.
We are a highly disruptive and innovative newspace company. We have to our credit many world’s firsts. We were the first ones to enable inter satellite communications with nano satellites. We are the first ones to implement data transfer, instant messaging and phone calls.
We are also the first ones to carry out transfer of financial transactions and protected information between the satellites. We are the first ones to have information flying without any propulsion. We are just using a very unique and innovative algorithm to control the distance through the change in the drag of the satellites themselves. So quite a long list of world’s firsts due to the exceptional team and their expertise and the knowhow we have within our company.
How are ‘Diamonds’ different from ‘Pearls,’ in Sky and Space Global’s context?
The ‘diamonds’ are the world’s smallest satellites. They are half a show box in size, so it’s 30cms x 10cms x 10cms. The ‘pearls’ will be slightly bigger. They will be what we call 18 nano satellites. They will be 40cms x 10cms x 20cms, roughly a shoe box size satellites.
We will start launching next year and every two to three months we will launch a batch of pearl satellites. So 20 to 25 satellites in each launch, every two to three months and that gets us to 2020 with enough satellites in space to provide that full coverage that we are talking about. It is very challenging but we believe we can actually do that.
How will your initiative be different from other similar expeditions with nano satellites?
Of course, earth imagery using nano satellites, has been around for a few years with several companies doing that. But you have to have that satellite pass over your ground station in order to download the data. With Sky and Space global, we are creating a network, a mesh of routers in the sky. So each satellite is in constant communication with the entire network. If you think about the Internet of Things or machine to machine services that sky and space global will provide, it’s quite different from other initiatives and ideas and even existing services, because it’s a 24/7 coverage. It’s almost like being constantly connected to the grid and that has a lot of advantages for companies who are looking for real-time data from their assets on the ground.
Who all are part of your success story?
The contractor of our satellites is GOMspace, a world leader in nano satellites. We are launching our satellites using virgin orbit, again a leader in small satellite launcher and by the way we congratulate them for the recent success in flying their airplane. We have a lot of potential markets, over three billion people live in the area that we service. So in the last couple of months we have made a few announcements regarding agreements that we have with companies in Africa, in South and Central America, in the Caribbeans, and also in Asia, because it’s a huge market out there. And the potential is just unbelievable. Every milestone that the company has set for itself, we have met on time and with the required results that we have set for ourselves. Along with our collaborators, we will keep on sailing high, making space more accessible.