NanoAvionics received an order for three additional satellites from OQ Technology of Luxembourg, which raised $13 million in September to build out a small constellation of 5G narrowband nanosatellites for Internet of Things (IoT) connectivity.
NanoAvionics has constructed three satellites for OQ Technology, of which two have already been launched into orbit. The launch of the third satellite, known as MACSAT, has been postponed due to the failure of an Arianespace-operated Vega C rocket in December 2022. However, following a recent announcement from the European Space Agency regarding the investigation outcome and way forward, OQ Technology’s CEO expressed confidence that MACSAT will fly this year.
Additionally, NanoAvionics has been awarded a contract to build three 6U cubesats named Tiger-4, Tiger-7, and Tiger-8, which will carry 5G NB-IoT payloads provided by OQ Technology. The new satellites will be built at a new facility in Vilnius, Lithuania, and will have onboard propulsion for deployment, formation flying, and end-of-life disposal. OQ Technology’s CEO sees the new satellites as a means of expanding their global coverage and entering new markets. NanoAvionics’ CEO attributes the repeat business to the company’s standardization, automation, and experience with communications missions.
Three in orbit
According to a news release from OQ Technology on March 13, the company has launched three Tiger nanosatellites since 2018, and plans to have 10 satellites in orbit by late 2023 or early 2024.
The remaining satellite launches are scheduled to take place this year, with the final ones potentially launching in early 2024, depending on launch conditions.
OQ Technology’s current constellation includes Tiger-1, a 6U cubesat built by Denmark’s GomSpace, which was launched in February 2018 on a Chinese Long March 2D rocket, as well as Tiger-2 and Tiger-3, both 6U cubesats built by NanoAvionics and launched in June 2021 and April 2022, respectively, on SpaceX’s dedicated rideshare missions.
Seven in the pipeline
In addition to the recently ordered Tiger-4, Tiger-7, and Tiger-8 satellites from NanoAvionics and the previously built MACSAT awaiting the resumption of Vega launches, OQ Technology has ordered two 6U cubesats, Tiger-5 and Tiger-6, from Denmark-based Space Inventor.
The company is also collaborating with the Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Centre of the United Arab Emirates on the development of a 12U modular satellite platform named PHI-Demo (short for Payload Hosting Initiative demonstration), which will carry OQ Technology’s communications payload.
This payload will store and forward data collected from IoT devices, while SteamJet Space Systems, based in Birmingham, England, will supply the satellite’s water-based propulsion system.
“The PHI mission represents a major enabler for us in expanding our global satellite 5G coverage and also business in the [Middle East and North Africa] region,” Qaise said in a January 2022 announcement.