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Spire ‘Supercomputing’ Satellites blasted off on Russian Soyuz rocket

Jul 8, 2019, 9:50 am

Aerospace firm Spire Global’s team sent dozens of small satellites aloft from Vostochny, including two supercomputing via Russian Soyuz rocket. Soyuz can fly from four launch sites worldwide: it currently has two launch pads operational at the Baikonur Cosmodrome, one each at the Plesetsk and Vostochny Cosmodromes and one at the Centre Spatial Guyanais in French Guiana which is used exclusively for commercial missions. Plesetsk originally had four launch pads, although one of these has since been demolished.

The firm also has built its sites in San Francisco, Washington DC, Boulder, Singapore, and Luxembourg. With technology satellites have also become essential to everything from monitoring the weather to navigation through the processing of data can be slow due to the amount of traffic which means more satellites are in need to help companies process and cherry-pick data before sending it back.

We see these parallel supercomputing devices as being too important for the next phase of Earth observation. Just one small satellite can collect over a terabyte of data per day. It is needed to be analyzed on orbit so that that true insight can be delivered to customers directly and in time – Peter Platzer, CEO, Spire

The satellites were developed under pioneer program and were designed, built, and tested at Spire Global’s factory in Glasgow, with support from the UK Space Agency. The parallel supercomputing devices, aboard the lightweight, shoebox-sized nanosatellites, can be programmed to both receive and process data while in orbit.

This enables them to select high-quality data and immediately transfer it to Earth. The Soyuz rocket, on the upcoming launch, is anticipated to drop off satellites in three different sun-synchronous orbits.

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