We’re all familiar with the Ursa Major and Orion constellations. However did you know that they’re not the only type of constellation in existence? With the emergence of the New Space era, different types of space missions have emerged, whether for space exploration, telecommunications, or Earth observation. To carry out these projects, satellite constellations are launched from various locations all over the world. But how is a satellite constellation defined?
A satellite constellation is a set of satellites serving identical missions and functions throughout their lifetime.
Kinéis is a provider of IoT connectivity via satellite, and operator of its own constellation of 25 nanosatellites. It will be launched from New Zealand in the summer of 2024, using Rocket-Lab’s Electron launcher. Its primary mission is to provide connectivity for the Internet of Things (IoT) everywhere on Earth. It will therefore be filling the gap that currently exists in the absence of terrestrial networks, and providing this in near-real time.
A secondary mission is also on board. This is a system for collecting, from orbit, navigational aid messages exchanged between ships for anti-collision purposes. This system is known as AIS (automatic identification system). These messages provide regular information on the trajectory (position, heading, speed, route, etc.) and traffic status of ships in a given maritime zone.
The constellation will be positioned in low polar orbit (LEO) at an altitude of 650 km. For a total of 25 nanosatellites, the Kinéis constellation is made up of 5 equidistant orbit planes around the Earth, with 5 satellites occupying each plane equally.
Thanks to this choice, a latency of less than 15 minutes between successive satellite passes is guaranteed at any point on the globe, enabling us to take advantage of nearly 80 daily passes. The Kinéis constellation is scheduled to last 8 years.
The Kinéis constellation will provide global coverage, enabling users to retrieve small messages from their connected objects. They can do so quickly and at low energy cost. This will ensure greater autonomy and longer lifespan, all at an affordable price.