Spire, the Glasgow-based space technology company has won a £4 million contract from the UK Space Agency to showcase and validate new space-based technologies and put UK companies into orbit faster and at a lower cost.
One mission will focus on the development of parallel super-computing in space – a key component for future computationally-intensive missions. A second, which will focus on the Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) for weather applications, will leverage Galileo signals ‘radio occultation’ a key data input for the improvement of weather forecasts.
Advanced Research in Telecommunications Satellites
The funding is part of the European Space Agency’s Advanced Research in Telecommunications Satellites (ARTES) pioneer programme, which supports industry by funding the demonstration of advanced technologies, systems, services and applications in space.
Theresa Condor, Spire’s EVP of Corporate Development, said: “Spire’s infrastructure, capabilities, and competencies all support our submission to this program. For the launch of our 50+ satellite constellation, we quickly became our own best customer.
“We’re looking forward to demonstrating our end-to-end service and infrastructure on this series of validation missions. ‘Space as a Service’ means going from mission technical architecture to customer data/service verification, along with the ongoing development of critical enabling technologies.”
World Class Engineers and Scientists
Minister for Scotland, Lord Duncan said: “Spire Global is at the cutting edge of technology, using satellite data to track ships, planes and weather in some of the world’s most remote regions. They’re also an important employer in Glasgow, investing in the area and recognising the talent of Scotland’s world class engineers and scientists.
“We know that the space industry is important to Scotland’s economy and this UK Government funding will help companies like Spire stay at the forefront of this field.”
Global Space Market
The Rt Hon. Lord Henley, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, said: “Thanks to this new funding, Spire will be able to cement its activities in the UK, develop new technologies and use space data to provide new services to consumers that will allow businesses to access space quicker and at a lower cost – offering an exciting opportunity for the UK to thrive in the commercial space age.
“Through the government’s Industrial Strategy, we are encouraging other high-tech British businesses to pursue more commercial opportunities with the aim of growing the UK’s share of the global space market to 10% by 2030.”
The UK Space Agency also supports a space technology incubation centre in Glasgow and has provided support over several years to the Scottish Centre of Excellence in Satellite Applications, based at the University of Strathclyde.
The centre’s role is to raise awareness of the potential of satellite services and data to be used in new and improved products and services in other space-enabled markets – including offshore renewable energy, aquaculture etc.