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FemtoStar: taking aim for the stars

Networking and communication is something that has been on our minds as of late. As many of you are surely aware, we have started developing our own solution to private and secure peer-to-peer and group text messaging based on the PineDio gateway system, available next month. While we have high hopes for this system, we are also aware of its limitations. Voice communication and higher-than LoRa® data speeds is something we all rely on in our daily lives, and nothing will change this. If there was only a way to network via a secure and open source friendly manner - enter FemtoStar.

FemtoStar is a mobile satellite service working towards creating a satellite constellation for open and private communications around the globe. Their satellites as well as ground infrastructure run open source software atop of open hardware. The system can be accessed without needing to go through an official gateway, and anyone is welcome to review the source files as well as the code. FemtoStar’s vision is one of a privacy-respecting and net-neutral mobile satellite service that can be accessed by anyone, anywhere and at any time. Moreover, users’ hardware can be used to access the satellite network without prior consent from FemtoStar. All hardware can be used both to connect directly to satellites and to operate on-the-ground services. As for payments: ‘credit processing takes place on-satellite, and works even when no official ground station is available’.

We have now been talking to the people behind the FemtoStar project for some time, and we’ve been both impressed and captivated by their vision. Their idea of a low-cost and decentralized network allowing anonymous, geolocation-resistant communications is something we believe that our community can get behind. To anyone reading this, it is probably clear that we and FemtoStar have many convergent goals. A PineDio gateway can service the neighbourhood with text messaging, while a FemtoStar gateway can service an entire continent with data speeds fast enough to make phone calls or browse the web. In the weeks and months to come we will share more information concerning our mutual engagement, but in the meantime make sure to join their Matrix channel and give their FAQ a thorough read for more insights.

“The FemtoStar Project is excited to see PINE64 join our efforts to develop the world’s first private, truly open-infrastructure, 100-percent-free-and-open-source wide-area communications network. We expect PINE64’s experience with manufacturing and distribution of affordable, mass-market hardware to play a key role in making FemtoStar usable to the largest number of people possible, and look forward to integrating PINE64’s terrestrial LoRa network with FemtoStar’s satellite constellation.”

~ The FemtoStar Project