SpaceX, Kepler and Swarm Included on Australian List of Foreign Providers

60 Starlink satellites inside the Falcon 9 payload fairing. (Credit: Elon Musk)

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

The Australian government has approved SpaceX, Swarm Technologies and Kepler Communications for inclusion on a list of foreign companies allowed to seek approvals to provide communications services in the country.

The decision by the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) to include the companies in the Foreign Space Objects Determination list enables them to apply for licenses to provide services. It does not grant the companies licenses.

SpaceX’s Starlink constellation is designed to satellite broadband services anywhere on Earth. Elon Musk’s company has launched 242 satellites; it has received approval from the U.S. Federal Communications Commission to launch nearly 12,000 Starlink spacecraft.

Based in Toronto, Kepler Communications wants to provide store and forward and Internet of Things (IoT) data services to Australian users using a constellation of satellites.

“Kepler’s service will be facilitated by communication with fixed customer antennas capable of tracking Kepler satellites in LEO. Kepler utilises active beam steering (downlink) and dynamic spectrum spreading to minimise interference with other systems operating in its frequency bands,” ACMA documents said.

Swarm Technologies, based in Mountain View, Calif., is seeking approval to offer two-way connectivity for IoT and machine-to-machine sensors.

“The small two-way communications satellites will be using VHF-band frequencies in the 137–138 MHz band for downlink and in the 148–149.95 MHz band for uplink. The proposed constellation comprises 150 satellites with deployment altitudes ranging from 400 to 550 kilometres,” ACMA documents stated.