SpaceX has made its first public acquisition after purchasing a satellite communications start-up called Swarm Technologies.
The news of the acquisition was revealed in a filing with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in the US and SpaceX has reportedly scooped up Swarm’s 30 employees alongside its network of 120 tiny satellites.
Swarm Technologies was founded in 2016 by Dr. Sara Spangelo and has 121 satellites in orbit. The satellites are functioning as a wireless network providing continuous coverage across the planet for IoT devices, particularly in remote areas in industries such as agriculture and maritime.
The service is somewhat analogous to SpaceX’s Starlink service, which has been designed to provide broadband internet using its own constellation of satellites.
Starlink currently has 1,740 satellites in orbit, but more are planned before the rollout of its full commercial service, which has faced delays.
According to FCC, the merger agreement, in which Swarm will become a direct and wholly owned subsidiary of SpaceX, was made on 16 July.
While it may be the first public acquisition SpaceX has made in its history, the firm did purchase SolarCity in 2016 in a private sale. SolarCity was owned and run by relatives of Musk’s before its purchase and that deal angered Tesla shareholders, who claimed it amounted to a bailout of the firm.