Hubble Network makes Bluetooth connection with a satellite for the first time

Hubble Network makes Bluetooth connection with a satellite for the first time

 

 

Hubble Network has achieved a groundbreaking milestone by establishing a Bluetooth connection directly to a satellite, marking a significant validation of its technology. This achievement could potentially revolutionize connectivity by enabling millions of devices to connect anywhere in the world.

 

The Seattle-based startup successfully launched its first two satellites into orbit on SpaceX’s Transporter-10 ride-share mission in March. Since then, Hubble has confirmed receiving signals from onboard 3.5mm Bluetooth chips from distances exceeding 600 kilometers.

 

This breakthrough opens up a myriad of opportunities for space-enabled Bluetooth devices across various markets, including logistics, cattle tracking, pet monitoring, GPS watches for children, car inventory management, construction site monitoring, and soil temperature tracking. Initially targeting industries requiring limited network coverage, such as remote asset monitoring for the oil and gas sector, Hubble aims to expand its services to sectors needing more frequent updates, like soil monitoring and fall detection for the elderly.

 

Once operational, customers will be able to integrate their device chipsets with Hubble’s network through a simple firmware update.

Founded in 2021 by Alex Haro (co-founder of Life360), Ben Wild (founder of Iotera, acquired by Ring), and aerospace engineer John Kim, Hubble initially faced skepticism about the feasibility of connecting a Bluetooth chip to a satellite. However, recognizing the demand for global connectivity and the limitations of existing IoT devices, the team persevered.

 

Joining Y Combinator’s Winter 2022 cohort and securing a $20 million Series A funding last March, Hubble developed software to enable off-the-shelf Bluetooth chips to communicate over long ranges with low power consumption. Additionally, the company patented a phased array antenna for small satellites, which acts as a magnifying glass, facilitating communication between Bluetooth chips and Hubble satellites. Overcoming Doppler-related challenges, such as frequency mismatches between fast-moving objects exchanging data via radio waves, further solidifies Hubble’s technological prowess in the satellite communication space.

 

Hubble Network makes Bluetooth connection with a satellite for the first time

One of Hubble’s satellites in a terrestrial test chamber.

 

Hubble is gearing up for its next phase of satellite launches, with plans to deploy a third satellite on SpaceX’s Transporter-11 mission this summer and a fourth on Transporter-13. These four satellites will form what Hubble’s co-founder Alex Haro refers to as the “beta constellation,” and pilot customers are already beginning to integrate their systems with the network.

 

Looking ahead, Hubble intends to launch an additional 32 satellites simultaneously in the fourth quarter of 2025 or the beginning of 2026, although the launch provider has yet to be determined. This expanded constellation, totaling 36 satellites, will mark Hubble’s first “production constellation.” These satellites will enable connectivity with a Hubble satellite for approximately 2-3 hours per day from any location worldwide.

 

In a groundbreaking achievement, the Hubble Network has successfully established a Bluetooth connection directly with a satellite—a significant milestone in space technology. Let’s delve into the details:

  • What Happened?
    • On March 4, 2024, Hubble Network launched its first two satellites from Vandenberg Space Force Base. These satellites are no ordinary ones; they have not only reached their orbits but also managed to receive signals from a simple 3.5mm Bluetooth chip over an astonishing distance of 600 kilometer.

 

  • Implications and Applications:
    • This achievement validates critical technology for Hubble Network, potentially opening the door to connecting millions more devices anywhere in the world.
    • The Seattle-based startup’s technology can be applied in various markets, including:
      • Logistics: Efficient tracking and monitoring of shipments.
      • Cattle Tracking: Keeping tabs on livestock.
      • Smart Collars for Pets: Enhancing pet safety and location tracking.
      • GPS Watches for Kids: Ensuring children’s safety.
      • Car Inventory: Streamlining inventory management.
      • Construction Sites: Monitoring equipment and materials.
      • Soil Temperature Monitoring: Useful for agriculture and environmental studies.
    • Initially, the focus is on industries that require network coverage even once per day, such as remote asset monitoring for the oil and gas industry. As the constellation expands, Hubble aims to address use cases that need more frequent updates, like continuous soil monitoring or fall detection for the elderly.
    • Once operational, customers can integrate their devices’ chipsets with Hubble’s network by updating firmware.

 

  • How Did They Achieve This?
    • Hubble Network developed software that enables off-the-shelf Bluetooth chips to communicate over long ranges with low power.
    • On the space side, they patented a phased array antenna that can launch on a small satellite. These antennas act like magnifying glasses, allowing off-the-shelf Bluetooth chips to communicate with the Hubble satellite.

 

With these ambitious plans, Hubble aims to establish a robust satellite network capable of providing reliable and widespread connectivity, offering significant opportunities for various industries and applications.

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