A nanosatellite developed by Swiss start-up Astrocast was launched into space Monday at a SpaceX rocket launch in California. Following a test phase, the shoebox-sized device will be used to better monitor infrastructure and facilities, including those in remote areas.
The demonstration satellite is the first from Astrocast, a spin-off of the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne (EPFL), and will be used to test an Internet-of-Thingsexternal link (IoT) system that connects millions of objects all over the Earth’s surface.
A type of cube-shaped nanosatellite measuring just 10 centimetres (4 inches) per side, Astrocast’s device went into orbit along with some 70 other satellites aboard the Falcon 9 rocket from SpaceX, which is owned by the Tesla CEO Elon Musk.
The satellites were gradually put into a sun-synchronous polar orbit at an altitude of 575km in the hours following take-off.
After the test phase, the EPFL spin-off’s system will be used to monitor infrastructure and facilities, such as water purification operations in African villages, remotely and cost-effectively. The machines will have an internal communication module that will send water consumption and status data several times per day.
A second satellite of the same type will be deployed from India in January, and the company plans to launch another 80 satellites into orbit by 2022.