The RockBLOCK Mk2 allows you to send and receive short messages from anywhere on Earth with a clear view of the sky and it works far beyond the reach of WiFi and GSM networks. Maybe you want to transmit weather information from mid-ocean? Or use it to control your robot in the middle of the desert? Perhaps you need to communicate in an emergency, when other networks might not be available? RockBLOCK can help you.
At the heart of RockBLOCK is an Iridium 9602 satellite modem. The RockBLOCK provides the 9602 with an antenna and an 0.1" header with power and data connections. The header includes an FTDI-compatible serial interface that you can connect directly to almost any microcontroller, or via FTDI Basic Breakout to a computer’s USB port. The RockBLOCK requires a 5V supply that can supply 470mA during startup, and 100mA continuously. Sleep mode can reduce this to 20uA. Alternatively you can power the RockBLOCK with a 3.7V Lipo battery that can supply up to 1500mA. See the Developer’s Guide below for more information.
Iridium is the only satellite network that allows transmission of information from any point on Earth – other networks have no coverage in the polar regions, and have intermittent or no coverage in other marine and land areas. Iridium has 66 satellites in orbit around the Earth, allowing coverage anywhere on Earth 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. No other satellite network has truly global coverage. Messages sent via Iridium take just seconds to reach you, via e-mail or directly to your web-service.
Note: The RockBLOCK does require a monthly rental service to exchange information with the Iridium satellite network. You only pay for months in which you wish to use the RockBLOCK. No annual contract is required. Line rental costs £8GBP (about $12USD) per month and includes access to The CORE management system for managing your devices. The billing system is built into the CORE, and allows you to pay for only what you use. Check the CORE Information Page link in the Documents section below for more information.