Swarm a step closer to IoT satellite net after NZ launch

US nano-satellite company Swarm Technologies has launched its latest 24 satellites, using a launchpad on New Zealand’s Māhia peninsula operated by Rocket Lab.

Swarm, based in California, now has 36 satellites in orbit, said the company after the launch.

Rocket Lab had a number of other customers on its launch, including Valve, a gaming software company, providing another six satellites between them.

Swarm is in the process of building a global internet-of-things (IoT) network using its satellites, of which it plans to have 150 in service by the end of 2021. Among its customers is a company planning to run connected car services for Ford.

Once in operation, Swarm will charge US$119 for each modem, which can be built into devices, and then a usage charge from $5 a month.

Rocket Lab, backed by Bessemer Ventures and other sources, was started in California in 2006 by Peter Beck. This was the company’s first launch with a reusable rocket.

Beck said: “It took a monumental effort from many teams across Rocket Lab, and it’s exciting to see that work pay off in a major step towards making Electron a reusable rocket.”

In September Swarm used French company Arianespace to launch the 12 earlier nano-satellites on a single Vega rocket from French Guiana in South America.