SpaceX is acquiring a smallsat startup focused on the Internet of Things

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Image Courtesy: Engadget

SpaceX has just recently dipped its toes into the Internet of Things. According to SpaceNews, SpaceX has purchased Swarm Technologies, a firm best known for smallsats that enable IoT applications. The two firms are open about how this would benefit Swarm – it provides the younger company the resources it needs to compete with other smallsat operators, not to mention the “synergies” that come with working with a company that has experience building and deploying satellites.

Swarm’s commercial mini-satellite network just launched in February of this year, yet it already has enough funds to complete the deployment of 150 satellites. It’s a tiny business with about 30 employees as of March.

It’s unclear whether or not SpaceX’s strategy will change as a result of the acquisition, though an FCC filing indicated that Elon Musk’s company would primarily benefit from Swarm’s “intellectual property and expertise.” In other words, this could be an acquihire rather than an expansion of SpaceX’s strategy.

There are certain instances where the firms could work effectively together. SpaceX is hard at work building a massive constellation of relatively tiny Starlink broadband satellites. In addition, the company has lately begun launching rideshare flights including cubesats and other tiny payloads. Swarm would at the very least act as a consumer for those ridesharing excursions. Regardless of how much IoT plays a role, it may also help SpaceX optimise or extend its smallsat operations. 

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