SpaceX acquires Swarm Technologies

Aug 12, 2021, 9:15 PM EDT
2 mins read
SpaceX acquires Swarm Technologies
Photo by SpaceX on Unsplash

SpaceX, a space transportation company founded by Elon Musk in 2002, has bought Swarm Technologies, a California-based startup. Swarm Technologies is a private firm that is developing a low-earth-orbit satellite constellation for Internet of Things (IoT) connectivity.

In 2018, Swarm sparked debate. It applied to the FCC for an experimental radio service license for its first picosatellites the previous year. The FCC rejected the proposal in December 2017 due to worries about tracking due to the satellites’ small size, but they were launched the following month from India.


Following the announcement of the launch, the FCC revoked clearance for a planned launch of additional satellites in April 2018. Swarm had not only launched the four unauthorized satellites, but it had also illegally transferred signals between them and earth stations in Georgia, according to an FCC inquiry.

Swarm had also conducted various other equipment tests prior to the launch without the required FCC authorizations, including between weather balloons and ground stations, according to the investigation.

Swarm was forced to pay a fine and execute a strict compliance plan to avoid future infractions as part of the settlement. For the next three years, this meant submitting additional details to the FCC at least 45 days before a planned launch.


Swarm announced in February that its commercial services were now operational, with 72 commercial satellites offering global low-cost data to consumers. It released an evaluation kit last month to make its satellite network more accessible.

SpaceX became the first private corporation to return a spacecraft from low-Earth orbit in December 2010. In May 2012, the firm achieved further history when its Dragon spacecraft docked with the International Space Station, exchanged cargo payloads, and safely returned to Earth. Dragon has transported supplies to and from the space station several times since then, providing NASA with regular cargo maintenance flights.


Starlink, SpaceX’s internet satellite constellation that will deploy 4425 cross-linked communications satellites in 1100km orbits, has signed partnerships with Google Cloud and Microsoft Azure to deliver on-ground compute and networking services.

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