LS2b – Bringing connectivity to remote locations
Densely populated areas provide us with the digital infrastructure we need to manage and monitor valuable assets. But what happens when these assets are remote and in areas with little or no alternative connectivity? A power plant in Oman for example, or a shipping container in the North Sea? Terrestrial networks and legacy satellites can provide a service, but the former with limited coverage and the latter at a cost that is prohibitively high for most organisations. For Lacuna Space, a solution was required that would allow their customers to better monitor remote assets but at a price point that made the service economically viable.
Direct-to-Satellite Internet of Things (IoT) connectivity – Proving the Concept
Over the duration of ten months, Lacuna Space worked with Open Cosmos to design and build a 3U cubesat, called LS2b, integrated with an IoT payload designed to provide connectivity to a host of ground sensors in geographically dispersed locations. These compact sensors collect data from a number of different assets – from livestock to gas pipes to shipping containers – allowing the customer full visibility of their infrastructure.
After a successful launch in March 2021, Open Cosmos was able to establish contact with the satellite at the first pass and following a period of commissioning, the LS2b satellite quickly began collecting and transmitting data, connecting to Open Cosmos ground stations to download the data every 12 hours. With this frequency of revisit, Lacuna Space was able to provide customers with an automated process of tracking and monitoring their remote assets on a daily basis and providing very high levels of reliability with an uptime exceeding 99.7%.
The New Space ecosystem
The LS2b satellite has now been operational for over two years, taking this from a proof of concept to a solution that has demonstrated significant cost savings for customers. Making decisions based on reliable, near-real time data from sensors means less time is spent travelling to sites unnecessarily, while the monitoring of the assets means customers have been able to streamline their processes – for example, more accurate yield predictions in agriculture, decreased maintenance costs for remote power plants and tracking maritime assets for supply chain efficiency.
The successful design, launch and subsequent operation of the LS2b satellite has allowed Open Cosmos to form a strong, collaborative relationship with Lacuna Space.
“Working with Open Cosmos as part of the ‘new space’ ecosystem provided us with an operational platform that aligned with both our financial profile and has served our customers well during their development & proof-of-concept phases.” says Jonathan Pearce, Chief Commercial Officer at Lacuna Space. “Our aim now is to grow the constellation, scaling up in order to reach optimum revisit time. We’re committed to bringing connectivity to places previously uneconomic to connect, and with Open Cosmos and LS2b, we’ve made that possible”