FAQs

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COMPANY

Who is Astrocast?

Founded in 2014, Astrocast SA is a listed company that delivers the most advanced SatIoT Service for customers looking to track, monitor, manage, and communicate with assets in remote regions of the world. With the world’s most innovative nanosatellite network, Astrocast delivers a complete end-to-end, direct-to-satellite connectivity, state-of-the-art communication modules, and enterprise class services. In partnership with Airbus, CEA/LETI, the European Space Agency, and Thuraya, Astrocast has developed the Astronode S, a cutting-edge terminal featuring low profile L-band antenna, ultra-low power consumption, and a small form factor. For more information on how you can go further with Astrocast, please visit www.astrocast.com.

What is Astrocast mission and vision?

Astrocast’s mission is to track assets, monitor the environment, and save lives by building and operating the most advanced and sustainable nanosatellite IoT network. Our vision is to believe in a connected world where IoT is global and benefits all. For more information about our company culture, please visit our About us page.

What has been Astrocast’s role in the development of CubeSats?

The SwissCube is the longest-lasting nanosatellite in space. It was launched in 2009 by a group of engineers from the EPFL (Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne) and Astrocast CEO Fabien Jordan served as Lead engineer on the electrical systems. Also, Astrocast’s core satellite team includes part of the engineers involved in the SwissCube project. They are essential in the telecommunications, mission software, and space segment areas. For more information about the SwissCube, please visit this article.

How many missions has Astrocast launched?

Astrocast has launched 12 nanosatellites into space, two precursor satellites in 2018-2019, aboard SpaceX SSO-A and PSLV-C45 respectively, and ten commercial nanosatellites in 2021 aboard SpaceX Transporter-1 / Spaceflight SXRS-3, and SpaceX Transporter-2 / Spaceflight SXRS-5. For more information, please visit our Missions page.

How can I join Astrocast?

At Astrocast, we always seek the brightest minds to join us in building and operating the most advanced and sustainable satellite IoT network, to connect a world where IoT is global and benefits all. Check out our job openings on our Careers page.

Is Astrocast a public company?

Astrocast SA, the leading Swiss IoT- focused nanosatellite company, floated its shares on the Euronext Growth market in Oslo on August 25th, 2021. The listing marks the first chance for investors to acquire shares in an IoT satellite constellation in a public market. Find more information on this press release.

Why should I invest in Astrocast?

Astrocast is developing a global nanosatellite constellation and low-power modules to ubiquitously connect efficiently and at ultra-low-cost, millions of IoT devices in remote, rural and maritime areas. The demand for IoT is exploding all over the world, but current satellite solutions do not properly address IoT needs over 85% of the world’s surface which is not covered by traditional cellular technologies. Potential for satellite-based IoT in these low-density areas is very significant with 30 million connections expected by 2025. For more information, please visit our Investor Relations page.

How do I invest in Astrocast?

If you would like to invest in Astrocast, the company is traded on the Euronext Growth Market operated by Oslo Børs with the ticker ASTRO (ISIN: CH1122548808). We encourage you to work with your local broker or bank to purchase shares on Euronext Growth Oslo. For more information, please visit our Investor Relations page.

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PRODUCT

How much data can I send per day with the Astronode S?

With the current constellation we can assure up to 5 messages of 160 bytes per day. Depending on your use case and location, it may be more. Please contact us to understand the potential for your specific application.

What kind of battery can I use to power an Astronode S?

The Astronode S needs a power supply of 3.3 V with peak currents of about 80 mA. A wide range of available battery technologies and form factors can be used in combination with a carefully designed power supply circuit.

Can I use the Astronode S with other antennas than the Astronode Patch Antenna?

We recommend using antennas with similar or better performance compared to the Astronode Patch Antenna. Astrocast will be happy to guide you in finding or developing the optimal antenna for your specific needs, please contact us.

Can I use an external antenna with SMA or uFL connector together with the Astronode S?

The RF output on the Astronode S is available via pin-out. From there you can design an RF line to a SMA board to a cable connector. However, losses introduced by the connectors and cable should be carefully managed and kept to a minimum.

Do you provide a cable for connecting the Astronode S+?

We provide a basic cable assembly in order to enable your R&D a quick integration of the Astronode S+ into your system. Astrocast will be happy to find a cable assembly solution for your specific needs, please contact us.

I would like to build the Astronode S+ into my existing system, what do I need to consider?

When mounting the Astronode S+ in an existing system enclosure, it needs free view to the sky, with its antenna pointing up. Avoid metallic enclosures and parts nearby.

What kind of hardware do I need to drive the Astronode S+?

Any kind of programmable PC or embedded controller with a digital interface at 3.3 V or an RS232 interface at 5.0 V will work perfectly together with the Astronode S+.

Do I need to design a ground plane for the antenna?

The Astronode Patch Antenna generally works best with a ground plane of at least 65 mm x 65 mm. What’s more, Astrocast will be happy to assist you in selecting the best suited antenna and its optimal implementation for your application.

Do I need to design any RF circuitry between the Astronode S and the Antenna?

There is no need for additional components. However, the antenna line on the PCB has to be carefully designed to match 50 Ohm impedance.

Can I use the Astronode Patch Antenna for both the Astronode S and my GNSS receiver?

Yes, our multi-band antenna can serve both the data communication over the Astrocast network as well as receive GNSS data for a third party receiver.

What is the Astronode DevKit and what can I do with it?

The DevKit will help you test and evaluate our satellite network, but also simulate the satellite link in the lab thanks to its Wi-Fi board. The latter will help you shorten time to market with efficient firmware and software development, as well as testing.

How can I control the DevKit from my computer?

We provide a graphical user interface with the DevKit (Windows desktop application) in order to get you started without writing a single line of code.

What do I need the Wi-Fi DevKit Board for?

The Wi-Fi DevKit Board allows for accelerated testing thanks to a simulated satellite link, for instance in a typical indoor lab environment without free view to the sky.

Can I install the DevKit outside?

Our DevKit features a weather-sealed plastic housing (IP67), enabling testing outside under real conditions.

Do I need an external power supply?

Both the satellite and the Wi-Fi DevKit work with the power supplied by the enclosed USB cable.

Is airtime included when I order a DevKit?

Every DevKit comes with free airtime to facilitate your evaluation and testing phase. For more information on airtime included check our Astropreneur Program page and download the program brochure.

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SERVICES

Can I send and receive data? And how do I communicate with my asset?

You can benefit from a two way communication service to transmit data with our network (note that our solution is for low data rate and is not suited for voice, video, or images).

Asset-originated: these messages are sent by your assets to our Data Management Platform. They have a maximum size of 160 bytes (user-generated payload), plus an optional geolocation field of 8 bytes. The user decides the format of the payload required to send information such as environmental parameters (temperature, pressure, humidity…). Geolocation data can be inserted in the payload, or in the optional geolocation field.

Asset-terminated: these commands are primarily used to transmit data to your assets. They have a pre-defined size of 8 bytes or 40 bytes (user-generated payload).

Why should I sign up for a program with Astrocast?

You bring your expertise in IoT asset development, and Astrocast brings the full expertise of its network. Together we can assure your next IoT hardware is a success, by assuring fast time to market, high quality and painless RF integration. For more information check our Astropreneur Program page and download the program brochure.

Does the program provide engineering support?

If you sign up for a partner program, you will have access to tailored engineering support by Astrocast. For more information check our Astropreneur Program page and download the program brochure.

I have a great SatIoT business idea but no engineering ressources, can Astrocast help here?

Astrocast has a network of engineering consulting companies which know our products and can help you create your SatIoT device. We will be happy to assist you further in your specific needs, please contact us.

How can I send commands to my assets?

Commands can be sent to your assets manually in the Astrocast portal, or via the API.

How long does it take for a message sent by the Astronode S to arrive in the portal?

With our full constellation deployed we will have an end-to-end latency of less than 15 minutes. Until we reach this point, Astrocast will constantly work on decreasing latency by optimizing the network and launching additional satellites. Please contact us to get more details and the latest available figures.

Are my messages and data secure?

Astrocast’s network was built with sensitive industries and customers in mind. Our system features secure end-to-end 256-Bit encryption with unique device keys and authenticated access.

Does my asset know if the sent data was received successfully?

Yes, all messages are acknowledged to the sender by the satellite upon reception. If a message is not acknowledged, the Astronode S will resend it on the next satellite contact.

How long will my messages take to arrive?

At the start of Astrocast’s network, a message window will be available around every 9 hours. The Astronode S communicates back to the asset when a pass is about to occur/has just started occurring. This enables your asset to send the latest available information over the Astrocast network in a power-efficient way.

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TECHNOLOGY

What is Astrocast’s nanosatellite IoT network?

The Astrocast network is a constellation of nanosatellites in Low Earth Orbit (LEO) that provide a global IoT/M2M service, especially over areas that are not covered by terrestrial coverage. For more information, please visit our Technology page.

Does Astrocast have its own nanosatellite constellation?

Yes, Astrocast designs, builds and operates its own satellite constellation. Thanks to its 10 commercial satellites already in orbit, the IoT network is live and operational since 2021. The constellation will keep growing with more satellite launches scheduled in the coming years. For more information about our constellation, please visit our Missions page.

What are the specs of Astrocast’s nanosatellites?

Our Swiss state-of-the-art LEO nanosatellites weigh 5 kg, measure 10x10x34 cm, have about 150 mechanical parts and 25 electronic boards. In addition, our satellites have propulsion and deorbiting capabilities to avoid debris in space. For more information, please visit our Technology page.

Where can I find all technical information and documentation about the Astronode S?

For more information, please visit our Astrocast Documentation Platform.

Where can I find all technical information and documentation about the Astronode S+?

Where can I find all technical information and documentation about the Astronode Patch Antenna?

For more information, please visit our Astrocast Documentation Platform.

Where can I find all technical information and documentation about the Astronode DevKit?

For more information, please visit our Astrocast Documentation Platform.

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