Blues Starnote – An affordable satellite IIoT module with 18 KB of data for Skylo service

Last month, we wrote about the new Quectel CC660D-LS IoT-NTN module, built in collaboration with Quectel and Skylo. before that, we wrote about Qualcomm 212S and 9205S satellite modems which were also developed in collaboration with Skylo. Those modules support IoT NTN (Non-Terrestrial Networks) which makes them very useful for a variety of applications including sending texts, making voice calls, and providing emergency services, particularly in remote areas.

But in a recent development, Skylo partnered with Blues to launch Starnote, a complete backup satellite module that just cost $49. It provides a backup satellite connection for times when cellular or Wi-Fi isn’t available, designed to work seamlessly with the Notecard API. The module features an M.2 E-Key edge connector and a six-pin JST connector (on the backside of the PCB) for easy setup, plus options for external antennas through u.FL connectors. It includes 18KB of Skylo satellite data without any monthly charges, according to Blues calculation it will last a year for a 50-byte message sent every day.

Blues Starnote Satellite IIoT module

Starnote Satellite IIoT module specifications:

  • Integrated satellite and GPS antennas.
  • External antenna compatibility via u.FL connectors.
  • JSON API for Notecard integration.
  • M.2 Key E and six-pin JST connectors for versatile connections.
  • NTN modem with zero-touch setup.
  • Includes 18KB Skylo satellite data; no extra fees or subscriptions.

Starnote Module with Differnt Antenna Setup

The Starnote offers two variations for connectivity: one with onboard satellite and GPS ceramic antennas for immediate use, and another smaller option that allows for external antennas via u.FL connectors, catering to different installation needs and preferences.

The Starnote module uses Skylo Satellite Coverage and supports 3GPP Rel-17 connectivity. However, after intense googling, I was unable to find technical information, like the processor type, and clear details on software and hardware support. While there is an API reference available, it doesn’t have a specific section for this module.

Notecarrier A,B,F and Pi Hat boards
Notecarrier A, B, F, and Pi Hat Boards

There are four different types of Notecarrier boards namely the Notecarrier A, Notecarrier B, Notecarrier F, and Notecarrier Pi Hat and all four boards can support the Notecard modules like Cellular, Cell+Wifi, LoRa, and Starnote models as they all support the M.2 E-Key.

The newly announced Starnote Satellite IIoT module has already sold out, but Blues has created a waitlist on their website for those interested in purchasing at the $49 introductory price. For more details, you can check the press release on their website.

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