Spire Global has launched two supercomputing nanosatellites via Russian Soyuz rocket. These newly launched satellites will collect unique, high-quality data and will rapidly transfer to Earth toi help the company’s quest to track ships, weather and aircraft using its constellation of 80 nanosatellites.
Spire CEO Peter Platzer said, “We see these parallel supercomputing scalable devices as being extremely important for the next phase of Earth observation. Just one of our small satellites can collect over a terabyte of data per day, which would be prohibitive to download. It has to be analyzed on orbit, so that true insight can be delivered to customers directly and in a timely fashion.”
The satellites were developed under the European Space Agency’s Pioneer Program, which aims to provide cost-effective opportunities for private or public entities to work in space exploration. On this Platzer said, “It is exciting to see ESA’s continued support and focus on deploying these necessary data analytics capabilities.” One of the Spire satellites is named “Morag”, after the mother of Ryan Wilson, lead satellite assembly, integration and test engineer at Spire. The satellite was loaded into a special deployer from German launch provider Exolaunch on Wilson’s mother’s birthday, May 23.
Spire’s satellites, as well as 26 others from companies such as Momentus (in-space transporation) and NSLComm (satellite communications), are aboard an experimental Exolaunch deployer called CarboNIX, a “shock-free” deployment system that uses only a spring and locking mechanism. No pyrotechnics are needed, lessening the shock that satellites receive when they separate from the rocket during launch. This is aimed especially at microsatellites that have delicate electronics.
Spire launched its 100th satellite to orbit earlier this year and uses radio frequency signals to blanket the Earth with coverage. It has already been through three funding rounds and revenues, Platzer said in April, are “well into the eight-figure range” and growing year-over-year in triple digits.
All told, the Soyuz rocket delivered 33 satellites into orbit, with the main one being Russia’s Meteor M2-2 weather satellite. Meteor will orbit from pole to pole to examine features of Earth’s climate including the ozone layer, its ice and cloud cover, and humidity in the atmosphere. The aim is to improve medium-range weather forecasts.