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SpaceBEE 5, 6, 7, 8

SpaceBEE 5 [Swarm Technologies]

The four SpaceBEE, formerly known as BEEs (Basic Electronic Elements), picosatellites, built to the 1U CubeSat form factor are to demonstrate two-way satellite communications and data relay for Swarm Technologies Inc. as a follow on to the first four smaller SpaceBEE satellites.

The mission is to test the world’s smallest two-way communications satellites to serve as a cost-effective low-data rate Internet of Things (IoT) network connectivity solution for remote and mobile sensors. The initial experimental space deployment is comprised of four satellites, each with a 1U form factor employing radar signature enhancement technology, which enables them to be passively tracked, and using VHF band frequencies for communications. There will also be an experimental deployment of ground stations for communications with the space units.

The mission is to demonstrate the capabilities of these picosatellites for serving low data rate communication relays for remote sensors and data collectors. Experimental operations is scheduled to begin upon launch for a period of at least 6 months and up to 2 years

For the second batch of satellites, the 1U form factor was chosen to increase the rad radar cross section over the original 1/4U satellites for enhanced tracking. Also they feature a GPS device in each satellite that would broadcast its position on request. On four faces of the satellites are covered with an experimental passive radar reflector developed by the U.S. Navy’s Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command, which according to the FCC application would increase the satellites radar profile by a factor of 10.

The four satellites were planned to be launched on the third Electron rocket, but the future of these satellites remains in limbo after the FCC denied a licence after the issues with the first four SpaceBEE satllites, which were apparently launched without a valid licence.

Nation: USA
Type / Application: Technology
Operator: Swarm Technologies
Contractors: Swarm Technologies
Configuration: CubeSat (1U)
Propulsion: None
Power: Solar cells, batteries
Lifetime: 6 months to 2 years
Mass: 1 kg
Satellite COSPAR Date LS Launch Vehicle Remarks
SpaceBEE 5 (ex BEE 5) - 2018 OnS LC-1 Electron with ?, SpaceBEE 5, ..., 8
SpaceBEE 6 (ex BEE 6) - 2018 OnS LC-1 Electron with ?, SpaceBEE 5, ..., 8
SpaceBEE 7 (ex BEE 7) - 2018 OnS LC-1 Electron with ?, SpaceBEE 5, ..., 8
SpaceBEE 8 (ex BEE 8) - 2018 OnS LC-1 Electron with ?, SpaceBEE 5, ..., 8