Three more satellites for world’s largest 5G Narrowband-IoT constellation
Kongsberg NanoAvionics has received an order for three further satellites from 5G telecoms operator OQ Technology. They will be added to OQ Technology’s existing constellation, turning the company into the largest 5G NB-IoT (narrowband Internet of things) satellite operator in the world.
It is NanoAvionics’s fourth contract with OQ Technology, having previously supplied Tiger-2, Tiger-3, and MACSAT missions. Through the collaboration with NanoAvionics, OQ was able to launch the world’s first commercial nanosatellite, Tiger-2 in 2021, that provided 5G coverage for IoT devices based on NB-IoT and a first expansion of their services with Tiger-3 in 2022.
As part of the agreement, OQ Technology will provide the 5G payload, which is based on standard 3GPP Rel. 17 technology – the cell tower stack developed in-house by OQ – and will take care of launch, satellite operations, spectrum licensing, service and market access. With the recent traction of direct-to-device cellular communication through satellite, OQ Technology is a pioneer in direct cellular IoT to satellite connectivity.
The three 6U nanosatellites, Tiger-4, Tiger-7 and Tiger-8, will be built at NanoAvionics’s new MAIT (manufacturing, assembly, integration, and testing) facility in Vilnius, Lithuania. The facility was setup to meet the demands for serial satellite production for constellations and larger satellites by commercial, civil, and governmental organisations.
The nanosatellites will be equipped with a propulsion system for constellation deployment, formation flying and deorbiting after the end of their lifecycle.
Omar Qaise, founder and CEO of OQ Technology said: “These three nanosatellites will allow us to grow our constellation, expand our global coverage, and enter new markets. In addition to pioneering the 5G NB-IoT technology, it is through partners like NanoAvionics that we are years ahead of the competition in the 5G IoT non-terrestrial networks market.”
Vytenis J. Buzas, founder and CEO of NanoAvionics said: “This latest contract is testament to the great working relationship we have built with OQ Technology over the last few years. Our level of standardisation, automation, and experience with communications mission permits us to supply customers like OQ technology in an efficient manner.”