Nordic-powered satellite transmitter module enables rapid development of global tracking solutions


Globalstar’s ST100 Satellite Transmitter module employs nRF52832 SoC to deliver Bluetooth LE connectivity to multiple sensors

Nordic Semiconductor today announces that Globalstar, a Covington, Louisiana-based satellite and commercial IoT communications company, has selected Nordic’s Bluetooth® Low Energy (Bluetooth LE) nRF52832 System-on-Chip (SoC) to provide the processing power and Bluetooth LE wireless connectivity for its ‘ST100 Satellite Transmitter’ module. The module allows companies to rapidly develop satellite-based tracking and monitoring solutions using Globalstar’s low Earth orbit (LEO) satellite network.

Processing power for demanding applications

The nRF52832 SoC’s 64MHz, 32-bit Arm® Cortex® M4 processor with floating point unit (FPU) acts as the central processor for the ST100, offering ample processing power for even the most demanding applications. The SoC’s Bluetooth LE wireless connectivity enables the device to be configured via the Globalstar ST100 app on a user’s smartphone, as well as providing a wireless interface to multiple Bluetooth LE sensors depending on the developer’s application. Nordic’s S132 SoftDevice—a Bluetooth 5-certifed RF software protocol stack—features Central, Peripheral, Broadcaster and Observer Bluetooth LE roles and supports up to twenty concurrent connections. 

The nRF52832 SoC’s feature set is the ideal complement for IoT devices
Mark Witsaman, Globalstar

Alongside the nRF52832 SoC, the ST100 integrates a three-axis accelerometer, GPS, and a simplex satellite transmitter. The accelerometer provides movement detection for asset tracking applications, while the GPS functionality can not only be used to obtain GPS positions, but also complement the accelerometer by providing movement detection data to eliminate false positives.

The lightweight (6 grams) module comes in a 5 by 2.5 cm form factor and offers a -30° to 85°C operating temperature range. This makes it suitable for a wide range of space-constrained and environmentally-challenging asset tracking and IoT sensor applications across a broad range of industries including agriculture, oil and gas, transport, and biomedical. For example, the ST100 could be used in smart farming applications to remotely monitor livestock or crops. The nRF52832 SoC’s Bluetooth LE connectivity makes it possible to communicate with the ST100 from within confined environments, such as indoors or within cargo containers. The ST100 itself must be placed outside because satellite transmissions required “line-of-sight” connections. The product can be solar-, battery-, or mains-powered, achieving exceptionally low power consumption thanks in part to the Nordic SoC’s on-chip adaptive power management system. 

Nordic’s nRF52832 multiprotocol SoC combines the Arm processor with a 2.4GHz multiprotocol radio (supporting Bluetooth 5.2, ANT™, and proprietary 2.4GHz RF protocol software) featuring -96dB RX sensitivity, with 512kB Flash memory and 64kB RAM.

Robust development tools

“The nRF52832 SoC’s feature set is the ideal complement for IoT devices and the ST100 is the first in a new line of Globalstar IoT devices which will utilize Nordic technology,” says Mark Witsaman, Vice President of Engineering for Globalstar. “Globalstar’s IoT enablement suite also leverages Nordic’s robust development tools and extensive community support.”