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Getting started with satellite connectivity

While Ground Control works with a lot of large enterprises, we have a huge amount of respect for the educators and enthusiasts who utilise our services for creative and often unique applications. We’re proud that we’ve helped hundreds of academic research projects and hobbyists take their first steps connecting devices via satellite.

These are often the groups most excited to share with us what they’ve been working on, so you’ll find a lot of examples in our Case Studies page. From schools using smart buoys to help contain oil spills, to launching high altitude balloons into space; sending autonomous boats across the oceans to piloting drones beyond visual line of sight – Ground Control’s reliable, robust, well-priced solutions make pole-to-pole connectivity possible.

"Every day we see remote projects being enabled with our equipment, allowing scientists to go further and do more than ever before.”

Probably the best entry level product Ground Control has to offer hobbyists and educators is the RockBLOCK – now in its second incarnation. The RockBLOCK is compatible with Arduino, Windows, Mac and Linux computers, including Raspberry PI, and many other platforms with serial or USB ports. It connects users to the Iridium Low Earth Orbit satellite constellation, allowing coverage anywhere on Earth.

Maybe you want to transmit weather information from mid-ocean? Or control your robot in the middle of the desert? Perhaps you need to communicate in an emergency, when other networks might not be available? Ground Control’s RockBLOCK can help you.

Plug and play

Satellite communication

At the heart of RockBLOCK is an Iridium 9602 modem. The RockBLOCK hosts the 9602 and provides it with an antenna, and its power supply requirements. It exposes the modem’s serial interface via a 0.1" pitch connector (or via labelled wires on the RockBLOCK+).

View Product Detail

RockBLOCK 9602

RockBLOCK takes its power via the header connector, or alternatively via the optional FTDI/USB cable. If you’re using the RockBLOCK naked then, your host needs to supply a minimum of 100mA @ 5v DC. RockBLOCK+ has a built-in regulator, and can accept 9-30v DC.