CLS plans IoT nanosatellite network
September 12, 2018
French satellite company CLS is launching a European constellation of nanosatellites to address IoT applications. The project is supported by French space agency CNES.
Through its newly set-up subsidiary Kineis, by 2030 CLS plans to connect several million objects around the globe. New space companies and the general public will have access to a global satellite location and connectivity service that it hopes will be easy to use and affordable. This connectivity is being offered by a constellation of nanosatellites developed with Thales Alenia Space, Nexeya and Syrlinks. The constellation will be in orbit by 2021.
“With French excellence in space, the unfailing support of CNES, and key accounts who will be participating in a future round table, we decided to create Kineis to make satellite geolocation and data collection accessible to as many people as possible,” said Christophe Vassal, chairman of the CLS executive board.
Kineis connectivity draws on a satellite constellation of 20 nanosatellites with a communications technology tailor-made for connected objects. CLS has entrusted the development of this constellation to Thales Alenia Space for the prime contractor of the complete system, which will rely on Nexeya for the fabrication of nanosatellite platforms and Syrlinks for its support in the design and construction of the instrument.
“We are extremely proud to be able to bring our expertise to the development of this major project both for our company but also for our subcontractors and partners,” said Jean Loïc Galle, CEO of Thales Alenia Space. “It is the result of successful collaboration between CLS, Nexeya, Syrlinks and Thales Alenia Space rooted in Thales Alenia Space’s long-standing involvement in the Argos programme and the French Space Agency’s Angels and Argos Neo nanosatellite project, which has lent credibility to an innovative system approach based on a very reliable, high-performance nanosat constellation.”
In the 1980s, CLS and CNES created the Argos system, laying the foundations for what would later become the IoT. CLS used the Argos satellite system to track connected objects before GPS or Galileo existed. As the world operator of the Argos location and data collection system, CLS provides Kineis with 40 years of experience in geolocation and data collection, four generations of technology development, and data processed from hundreds of thousands of beacons.
“Kineis is a satellite operator that will provide unique, universal connectivity fully dedicated to the IoT industry,” said Alexandre Tisserant, Kineis project leader. “Any object fitted with a Kineis modem can be located and transmit data wherever it is, whatever the conditions. Kineis connectivity is simple to integrate into third-party devices, consumes very little power and is reliable. All this will be available at a very competitive price, making it accessible to as many people as possible, so Kineis will very soon be locating and collecting data from several million connected objects, in real or near-real time. The company will become the natural partner for all entrepreneurs seeking to offer their customers an inexpensive satellite-based internet of things.”
Kineis plans to work closely with terrestrial IoT operators, current satellite operators and connected object manufacturers. The connectivity is positioned as an entry-level service for certain satellite operators and as a complement for terrestrial operators wishing to offer their customers worldwide coverage.