WiseKey launches first IoT picosatellites

  • January 19, 2022
  • Steve Rogerson

WiseKey this month launched its first IoT picosatellites – WiseSat–1 and WiseSat–2 – aboard the SpaceX Transporter 3 rideshare mission on a Falcon 9 vehicle.

This is the first customer project dedicated to smart agriculture and IoT to be deployed with Eprinsa, a Spanish state-owned IT company.

These are the first units joining a constellation of 80 picosatellites planned for 2022, and should provide cost-effective and secure connectivity to large IoT ecosystems requiring seamless data coverage anywhere on Earth.

Swiss firm WiseKey is a cyber-security, AI, blockchain and IoT company. With this launch, it is kickstarting WiseSat, a satellite-based secure IoT connectivity-as-a-service that provides the satellite platform, launch, integration, ground station services and the all the security architecture and components, as part of a turnkey SaaS offering for low-power and secure space-based IoT connectivity. This reduces the complexity and cost of the communication link for the end user and could set the benefits of space technology and embedded security within the reach of every IoT business.

Miniaturisation enables cost reduction to a level that makes WiseSat competitive, even compared with traditional ground-based connectivity such as NB-IoT.

Indeed, a first user project dedicated to smart agriculture and IoT is already on its way with Eprinsa, a Spanish state-owned IT company. Six provinces of Spain have been involved in the project and are considering using the WiseSat constellation for data acquisition of hundreds of thousands of sensors located in territories not normally covered by traditional ground-based networks.

The satellites have been designed and developed in partnership with Fossa Systems, an aerospace company focused on developing picosatellites for IoT communications. Both WiseSat-1 and WiseSat-2 will be managed from the ground by a recently installed control station based in La Línea de la Concepcion, Spain.

Satellites, nodes and sensors all use hardware security by design, incorporating a Vault IC 4XX secure element, providing FIPS 140-2 level three and Common Criteria EAL 5+ certification. The secure element, provisioned with a trusted identity using WiseKey’s Vault ITrust to secure provisioning services, enables authentication of the sensor and data encryption under the framework of a PKI-based security architecture.

Additionally, WiseKey’s Ines certificate lifecycle management services can provide the user interface and automation features to handle onboarding, commissioning and lifecycle management of the devices and sensors.

WiseKey and Fossa are also working on the development of secure nodes and gateways with Vault IC microcontrollers, creating an ecosystem of secure devices able to communicate with WiseSat using standard communication modules.

“This technology, which WiseKey intends to offer to its IoT clients in a SaaS model, creates another revenue stream for the company,” said Carlos Moreira, CEO of WiseKey. “By using this technology, companies seeking to securely connect their assets would be able to have both remote and redundant urban IoT communications and at the same time have the ability of covering large and unserved geographic areas such as maritime, deserts and mountains at an affordable cost.”

WiseKey IoT has an install base of over 1.6 billion microchips in virtually all IoT sectors such as connected cars, smart cities, drones, agricultural sensors, anti-counterfeiting, smart lighting, servers, computers, mobile phones and crypto tokens.

Fossa Systems is a Spanish aerospace company that provides dedicated and secure IoT communications to companies and military networks, with assets in remote areas, through satellite platforms. Founded in 2020 by Julián Fernández, CEO, and Vicente González, CTO, with the aim of democratising access to space, it combines technological miniaturisation with mass production techniques, reducing the development cost of its platforms and consequently the cost of its connectivity.