In December 2017, the company asked the U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) for permission to launch its four small "SpaceBEE" satellites into space. It never got that authorization — but launched them anyway on January 12, 2018 aboard the Indian rocket PSLV-C40.
And now we know what happens when a space startup goes rogue. Yesterday, Swarm was slapped with a substantial $900,000 fine as part of a settlement with the FCC for an "unauthorized satellite launch" according to official filings.
The FCC was already hot on the company's heels. It had reportedly been investigating Swarm since at least March.
The satellites launched to serve as a global communications gateway for "internet of things" applications. "By providing connectivity to people and devices in remote regions, Swarm makes data accessible to everyone, everywhere on earth," Swarm's official website reads.