Small-satellite startup Kepler Communications is teaming up with SpaceX to make good on its deployment goals for its first nanosatellite constellation. SpaceX will carry two separate batches of nanosatellites from Kepler aboard its Falcon 9 launch vehicles.
Kepler Communications, a Toronto-based space startup, will be building out a low-power, direct IoT connectivity satellite-based network, as well as a more high-capacity network powered with the same satellites to provide high-speed data transfer capabilities.
In total, Kepler will launch 400 kg (around 880 lbs) of payload with SpaceX, making use of the rideshare program that the Elon Musk-run company announced earlier this year. This launch will put the Kepler spacecraft into Sun-synchronous orbit, which means that they will pass over specific points on Earth at the same time each day as judged by the Sun’s position.
All told, Kepler will aim to put a total of 140 satellites in orbit across three phases of launch spanning 2020 to 2023. The goal is to operate the constellation as a relay system to help transfer data to other satellite constellations in orbit.