A Seattle Startup Just Did the Impossible: It Connected a Device to a Satellite Via Bluetooth

Known as Hubble Network, the startup aims to establish a low-cost global connectivity system to support activities on Earth.

Satellite Bluetooth
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As many might know, bluetooth accessories, such as keyboards, game controllers, and headphones, have a limited range of only a few feet. If you move too far away, the wireless connection starts have problems until it disconnects. However, a Seattle-based startup has accomplished something that was thought technically impossible–a Bluetooth connection between the surface of the Earth and space.

Earlier this month, the startup Hubble Network announced that satellites it had orbiting SpaceX’s Transporter-10 had successfully received signals from a Bluetooth chip located on a land-based device. The company claims this is a significant achievement that opens up opportunities to develop a low-power, cost-effective global connectivity system that can be used for various activities, ranging from logistics to ground temperature monitoring.

A Bluetooth Connection More Than 370 Miles Away

Backed by $20 million in Series A funding, the Seattle startup launched its first two satellites aboard Space X’s Falcon 9 rocket as part of its Transporter-10 mission. Both satellites are orbiting more than 370 miles away from the Earth’s surface and have already communicated with at least one land-based Bluetooth chip.

This is a significant achievement given that Bluetooth range is dependent on several technical factors, including radio spectrum, receiver sensitivity, transmit power, and antenna gain. Hubble Network equipped its satellites with phased array antennas that serve as a small magnifying lens to connect to the chip on the ground.

Satellite Bluetooth

According to Hubble Network scientists, the new technology doesn’t need special Bluetooth chips and a firmware update on existing equipment is sufficient to enable connection with the satellites. Although it’s still in its experimental phase, the company envisions that its “simple” connectivity system will benefit several industries, including energy, agriculture, and transportation.

The company’s roadmap includes launching 34 more satellites. One satellite will launch with SpaceX’s Transporter-11 mission this summer, and another will launch with the Transporter-13 mission later this year. The remaining satellites will be delivered between Q4 2024 and early 2025. However, the tech startup has not yet contracted a ride for its final two deployments. We’ll have to wait and see how this fascinating project evolves.

Image | Rawpixel.com| Hubble Network

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