Argentina has joined the market for satellite-supported Internet of Things (IoT) services in agriculture with the launch of its first pico-satellite.
The satellite was created by the firm Innova Space, a satellite services company that offers IoT solutions for maritime, environmental, mining, oil, gas and agricultural applications. It was launched from the SpaceX platform at Cape Canaveral in the US late last week.
The General San Martín pico-satellite (named after a famous 18th-century military commander) will enable agricultural companies in provinces or areas without internet access to apply IoT technology to optimize production.
According to news website BNamericas, the San Martín pico-satellite project is being financed by the Mar del Plata Neutron start-up accelerator run by Grupo Núcleo, a partner of the Argentine Chamber of Electronic, Electromechanical and Lighting Industries (CADIEEL), a non-profit society that represents more than 2,200 industries from different sectors.
The pico-satellite project was designed to be exportable and can contribute to the process of substituting imports of equipment and services, according to a government-supplied press release.
The term picosat is usually applied to artificial satellites with a wet mass between 0.1 and 1 kg. In this case the PocketQube satellites weigh around 1kg and measure approximately 50cm x 50cm x 150cm.
Productive development minister Matías Kulfas pointed out that the country is making a strong commitment to the development of the satellite sector. The ministry has allocated around 50 million pesos (about $480,538) to the pico-satellite project.
In fact the launch is expected to be the starting point for a constellation of 100 pico-satellites to be sent into space over the next three years.