The Glasgow-built nanosatellites have joined a fleet in low Earth orbit that monitor shipping movements, helping predict global trade movements.
“While nanosatellites are just the size of a shoe box, they have the power and intelligence of a regular satellite and are driving a revolution in how we observe our planet,” said Science Minister Amanda Solloway.
“Backed by £10 million of UK government funding, these extraordinary nanosatellites will not only help predict global trade and make businesses more cost effective, but will ensure the UK remains at the forefront of satellite development.”
Two of the Spire nanosatellites have an onboard what the UKSA calls a “supercomputer” which is intended to provide very accurate predictions of the locations of boats, track their whereabouts and calculate their arrival times at ports. This will, it says, enable port businesses and authorities to manage busy docks safely.
“Spire is all about helping our customers know what is next, so they can make better decisions,” said CEO of Spire Global, Peter Platzer (right).
“This month we are moving this forward by launching a true super-computer into orbit – 1-2 teraflops! – so that we can analyse data right in orbit, using smart algorithms and machine learning.”
The satellites have been developed under a European Space Agency (ESA) Pioneer programme, which is a partnership project co-funded by the UK Space Agency. The UK is still a member of ESA, which is independent of the EU.
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