Nanosatellite startup Astrocast has announced three new pilot companies that will utilise its network of IoT cubesats.

The three companies – Actia, Marine Instruments and Swiss Fresh Water – will use Astrocast’s satellites to monitor and control assets situated in remote areas.

It aims to deliver this two-way system at a lower cost than traditional, larger satellites.

Swiss Fresh Water, which has water purification technology in remote villages around the world, will use the nanosatellite network to monitor its water stations.

“When we started this project, we knew we had the right tools and technology to bring clean water to the world,” said Jean-Luc Mossier, Executive Chairman of Swiss Fresh Water. “Our water stations are at the centre of some very remote villages and are a lifeline to those communities.

“With Astrocast we can make sure these treatment machines are producing clean drinking water and remotely perform maintenance to ensure their operations.”

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The Swiss-based startup, which is partnered with the European Space Agency, Airbus and Thuraya, successfully launched its first test satellite in early December.

The L-Band two-way communication nanosatellite hitched a ride on SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket, which carried a payload of 64 nanosatellites from various space companies.

Being able to launch nanosatellites into space on commercial rockets, along with their low manufacturing costs, has lead to an explosion of nanosatellite startups in recent years – and a lot of competition.

What does Astrocast offer?

Astrocast claims to offer the most power efficient satellite modem for IoT applications, the lowest latency low earth orbit network and 256 bit encryption.

Like many of its competitors, such as Dutch startup Hiber, it aims to provide satellite coverage to the entire planet.

When completed, Astrocast’s constellation will consist of 64 cubesat satellites in low Earth orbit.

Manufacturer of fishery electronic equipment Marine Instruments will use the network to monitor marine buoys.

“It is very important for our customers to be able to track and monitor their marine buoys, especially deep at sea and in extreme conditions,” said Francisco Pino, Co-Owner of Marine Instruments.

“Our collaboration with Astrocast will make monitoring and controlling IoT devices in remote areas more feasible, especially when the area is hundreds of thousands of nautical miles wide.”

Astrocast intends to add more pilots to its network over the next few months.

Fabien Jordan, CEO of Astrocast, said:

“The growth of IoT devices for commercial purposes is outpacing anything the analysts predicted. And in many cases these devices are performing tasks that are impacting the lives of entire populations.

“Astrocast is helping make world-changing new IoT applications possible.”

Astrocast is currently showcasing its nanosatellite technology at CES 2019 in Las Vegas.