SpaceX to acquire small satellite startup Swarm Technologies

SpaceX's Elon Musks has acquired Swarm Technologies, a small-satellite information provider. The deal includes roughly 30 employees and its 120 satellite network. SpaceX is known for its rare ability to manufacture satellite hardware and rockets in-house, or contract with subcontractors. This deal was made last month.Swarm disclosed the acquisition plans in a filing to the Federal Communications Commission on August 6, which requested approval to transfer ownership of its antenna and satellite licenses to SpaceX. According to the filing, the merger agreement in which Swarm becomes a wholly-owned subsidiary of SpaceX was signed on July 16th.SpaceX has access to the expertise and intellectual property of the Swarm team, which is a benefit to themSpaceX's acquisition of Swarm is a rare business move as it expands its reach into consumer electronics. It also claws its way through Starlink's chasm of profitability, in the hope of turning the network into a cash cow that will fund Musk's huge Starship launch system. SpaceX is not clear on the specific opportunities that Swarm presents for its broadband network. Swarm's spokesperson declined to comment on the agreement, while SpaceX did not respond to a request for comment.Swarm stated in the FCC filing that the acquisition will increase the companies' ability to offer innovative satellite services that reach underserved and unreachable parts of the globe. SpaceX will also benefit from the intellectual property and expertise of the Swarm team. SpaceX will also be able to add this highly resourceful and efficient team to its ranks.Swarm was founded in 2016 and offers ultra-low-bandwidth data services. It uses its small SpaceBEE satellites, which are sandwich-sized, to talk to consumer antennas on ground called Tiles. The tiles can also be embedded as chips in cracker-sized circuit boards of devices. Devices with tiles installed can be tracked and relay sensor data to Swarms global satellite network. Prices start at $5 per month.SpaceX's Starlink program, which is a completely different one, aims to bring broadband internet to rural areas without any physical or fiber connections. SpaceX already has over 1,700 of its initial 4,409 satellites in low Earth orbit. Nearly 100,000 beta users have signed up for the service. They paid $499 for a terminal and $99 per month for internet. This network is far superior to OneWeb, which is backed by the UK, which launched 254 satellites for its smaller broadband network. Amazon's Kuiper network has yet to launch any satellites.