Spire Opens Glasgow Office for Weather Cubesat Venture

Spire, the San Francisco based smallsat company which began through the educational cubesat venture Ardusat, announced yesterday that it has been awarded $2.9 million in grants from the Scottish government. The award comes as Spire announced that it is opening a Glasgow, Scotland office to focus on its fleet of GPS Radio Occultation (GPS-RO) cubesats.

Described by Spire, “As GPS radio signals pass through Earth’s atmosphere they bend slightly. Using advanced algorithms, our satellites are able to measure a great deal from each signal and pull incredibly accurate data profiles for temperature, pressure and humidity at the point of the bend.”

Given that the United States is rapidly approaching a self inflicted gap in weather satellite coverage, the cubesat based RO technique is being marketed as both a critical stopgap measure as well as a long term solution. Spire announced in January that it will be launching a fleet which will ultimately rise to 35 cubesats which will be capable of offering a cumulative 10,000 readings per day. The spacecraft themselves are designed to last two years, after which they are de-orbited and replaced by newer upgraded models.

From a NewSpace pespective the Spire announcement is interesting in that it demonstrates the growing global appeal of the cubesat revolution, and a wider adoption of the rapid design cycles that it allows. Spire, which is also focused on offering AIS (Automatic Identification Services) for the maritime industry via its cubesat fleet, already has an office in Singapore.

The full release is below.

Data Company Spire Receives Up To $2.9 Million in Grants From Scottish Government to Double Down on Massive Satellite Weather Opportunity

Promoting the Growth of UK’s Space Community, Silicon Valley Satellite-Data Company Opens New Office in Glasgow Scotland to Attract World-Class Talent

SAN FRANCISCO, CA — June 9th, 2015 — Today Spire, the satellite-powered data company, announced that it has been awarded up to $2.9 million in grants from Scottish Enterprise, the international investment and trade promotion agency of the Scottish Government. The funds will help accelerate Spire’s international growth along with the opening of a new office in Glasgow, Scotland that will serve as a crucial hub for satellite engineering and development.

Scotland and Spire’s Vision for the Future

Scotland, also known as Silicon Glen, is a rising force within the technology industry. The region’s lower cost base and extensive range of universities create a rich environment, ideal for both Spire and Scotland’s growth. With an office in Glasgow, Spire will now have access to a strong base of talented engineers who are capable of solving some of today’s most complex challenges in order to develop the next generation of GPS Radio Occultation technology. Spire’s new European branch will also support Scotland’s developing tech sector, creating more job opportunities and stimulating progressive technological advancements in the field of weather data collection for the entire world.

“The confidence placed in us from Scotland enables us to expand our global footprint to attract the skills and talent we need to deliver on the next generation of weather satellites,” said Spire’s CEO, Peter Platzer. “We are not only looking for the top one percent of the world’s talent pool, but the one percent that demand constant challenge and improvement that has come to embody Spire’s culture. And just as we aim to hire and nurture the best and brightest, we will continue to offer them a unique, well-rounded and international life experience with plenty of excitement to spare.”

2015 has already proven to be a pivotal year for Spire: in January, the company announced its plans to vastly improve global weather forecasting with the launch of 20 satellites by the end of year. The launch of satellites coincides with the impending gap of satellite weather data in 2016, where the US economy and national safety will potentially be at high risk due to a significant reduction in weather and climate data. Spire offers a collaborative gap-mitigation solution with its resilient constellation of satellites by leveraging the most advanced GPS-Radio Occultation weather data technology. The company’s satellites will be able to provide five times more weather GPS-RO data than is currently available from today’s fleet of weather satellites at a fraction of the cost of current data-collecting solutions.

In 2014, Spire raised $25 million in Series A funding, bringing the total amount raised to $29 million and also opened a new branch location in Singapore. Now with its third global office in place, the company has plans to double its Glasgow team to over 50 full-time employees by 2018. The SDI grants, which come through Regional Selective Assistance and SMART: Scotland programmes, affirm both Scotland’s growing aerospace industry and Spire’s commitment to international growth.
“Attracting innovative companies like Spire is a key component of our success. Spire’s enhanced presence in Scotland makes a significant contribution to our space industry expertise and will open up a wealth of opportunities for SMEs in Scotland operating in the technology space,” said Lena Wilson.

End release

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