SPIRE: investing in Scotland Space Sector

2nd Dec 2020
Spire Global

Spire Global Satellite Company has existed since 2012. The company was founded in San Francisco, USA and its main mission is to provide quick access to satellite data. The company currently has six offices around the world, with a Spire Global Glasgow office as one of its key facilities. 

Spire launches its own Lemur satellites and collects unique data in low Earth orbit. At the moment, it owns a series of 90 satellites. Collected data is received through a network of ground stations. The advantage of Spire Global satellites is that, due to high-precision multi-sensors, they can collect more information than similar nanosatellites from other companies.

Opening a Spire Global Glasgow office in 2015 was essential because of San-Francisco’s limited space, which restrained Spire’s satellite mass production. Spire initially operated in Scotland with the support of local leader Clyde Space, however in December 2015, the company launched its own satellite manufacturing facility in Glasgow.

Thanks to this expansion, Spire quickly manufactured another series of satellites and launched them with an Atlas V rocket in March 2016. This created a network of ten simultaneously operating satellites. Besides Atlas, Spire satellites launched with the following rockets: Dnepr (Ukraine), PSLV (India), Antares (USA), Soyuz (Russia), and Rocket Lab Electron (New Zealand).

Company with a great future

Spire is the only company worldwide that has a unique collection of commercial weather data. This data is crucial in combating extreme and unpredictable weather events.

In September 2019, Spire received a £14.7 million investment from Scottish Enterprise. With this money, the company plans to create over 260 new jobs in Scotland’s space sector.

Spire also signed a $7 million deal with NASA. The money will be used to provide scientists with data for Earth observation missions. The first projects, demonstrating the potential for improving weather forecast accuracy, have already been established. Funding from NASA was an important milestone in the company’s development.

Peter Platzer, Spire CEO, notes: “Spire is incredibly inspired that our data and analytics can make a significant contribution to the global community by taking part in solving global problems.”

Currently, Spire has 90 satellites in orbit, scanning the Earth 24/7. Thanks to this data, scientists can receive the most accurate information about global weather changes.

The company recently allowed international weather forecasting centres free access to its meteorological data. The UK MET Office, which lost a large amount of data due to the COVID pandemic, has also been granted access. 

Spire plans to launch four more nanosatellites with powerful multi-sensors in 2020. These Spire Global satellites will track ships’ arrival to make dock maintenance easier for port management.

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