Global mobile satellite communications leader, Inmarsat, has recently announced its partnership with SWISSto12, a rapidly growing aerospace provider based in Europe. The collaboration is set to develop Inmarsat’s eighth-generation spacecraft, a series of three I-8 satellites, using SWISSto12’s HummingSat platform and advanced 3D-printing technologies. This development could herald significant advances in agricultural technology.
Despite their compact size, just 1.5 cubic meters in volume, the I-8 satellites are engineered to deliver vital safety services. This small footprint represents a significant reduction in size compared to traditional geostationary satellites and marks a revolutionary new class of spacecraft.
One of the significant applications of the I-8 satellites is their ability to support Satellite-Based Augmentation Systems (SBAS). These systems enhance the standard GPS/Galileo accuracy from 5-10 meters to as little as 10cm. The remarkable precision has potential applications for various industries, notably agriculture.
Precise tracking could enable a whole new level of device tracking in the farming sector. This might range from monitoring the health and location of livestock to guiding precision planting and irrigation systems. This could lead to more efficient use of resources, potentially resulting in higher yields and lower environmental impacts.
Furthermore, the I-8 satellites could facilitate the development of advanced, automated transport management systems. These systems could autonomously manage the transportation and distribution of produce from farm to market, reducing waste and improving the efficiency of the entire agricultural supply chain.
“Inmarsat’s services are relied upon worldwide every single day,” said Peter Hadinger, Chief Technology Officer at Inmarsat. “With SWISSto12’s groundbreaking technology, we will not only bolster our current capabilities but also enable innovations that could revolutionize industries like agriculture.”
Emile de Rijk, CEO of SWISSto12, echoed the sentiment, expressing his delight that Inmarsat selected SWISSto12 for the landmark I-8 program. He believes that their proprietary 3D-printing technology, which aids in manufacturing the satellites’ RF payloads, will expand the horizons of geostationary satellite communications.
The Inmarsat-8 program is part of Inmarsat’s fully-funded technology roadmap, aiming to launch five new satellite payloads by 2025 to boost its Global Xpress (GX) network. This ambitious initiative highlights Inmarsat’s commitment to advancing technology and promises a bright future for industries such as agriculture, which can significantly benefit from these innovations.
Image provided by Inmarsat
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