SparkFun has made communicating with satellites easier, thanks to their new ARGOS Satellite Transceiver Shield. This SparkX-designated Thing Plus form factor board interfaces with a satellite network focused on environmental protection, wildlife tracking, and environmental monitoring.
In 1978 the French Space Agency (CNES), the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) created the first Argos system. The original network provided means of collecting and relaying environmental data around the world. Today's version of the Argos system uses 25 nanosatellites and seven polar-orbiting satellites, which complete revolutions around the Earth approximately every 100 minutes.
The constellation covers 100% of the Earth--just not all at the same time. Each Argos platform has a unique ID that it can use to transmit a short 3 to 31-byte message during specified intervals. One of the Argos System's most used capabilities is to determine a transmitter's position by using doppler shift on a single satellite.
Please note that the Argos system is different from the 1999 Advanced Research and Global Observation Satellite (ARGOS) satellite mission.
SparkFun's new shield fits the Thing Plus Artemis board. With support in the Arduino Library for the ARTIC R2 chipset, you can connect to another microcontroller platform. While the Thing Plus form factor is convenient for most applications, standard header pins are also a connectivity option.
Kinéis is the current organization that runs the Argos system. SparkFun's board has certifications enabling to transmit messages using Argos 2, 3, or 4 encodings. The numbers are like version numbers for the Argos System, with each implementing more robust modulations, higher symbol rates, and other protocol improvements. (Argos 1 is no longer in use.)
The ARGOS Satellite Transceiver Shield is available for sale from SparkFun through their SparkX Lab. SparkX is the cutting-edge research and development group at SparkFun. Products from this group are considered experimental and do not come with live technical support. SparkFun is, however, ready and willing to help with SparkX products through their forums.
For more information, visit the ARGOS Satellite Transceiver Shield product page.