Space-powered data network specialist Spire Global has unveiled plans to add satellites carrying microwave sounders to its network to gather atmospheric moisture and temperature measurements.
The measurements collected by the new instruments will expand the company’s data offerings and, when coupled with the weather and Earth intelligence data already collected through radio occultation and reflectometry measurements, will further enhance the value and accuracy of Spire’s global weather forecasts.
Spire entered a partnership with RAL Space, part of the Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC) in the UK, to further develop and deploy the Hyperspectral Microwave Sounder (HYMS) on Spire satellites. The HYMS instrument is a new, advanced millimeter-wave technology that delivers microwave sounding information to improve weather forecasting. Spire and STFC will work together on a demonstrator mission of the HYMS, launching it on a 16U Spire satellite, with the long-term objective of launching a full constellation for atmospheric monitoring.
Kevin Petty, vice president of weather and Earth intelligence at Spire, said, “Satellites play a vital role in modern weather forecasting, providing over 90% of data that goes into models. By collecting additional near-real-time weather observations, we’re providing meteorological agencies across the globe that use our space-based data with the inputs needed to deliver even more accurate forecasts. We’re also helping commercial organizations increase their operational effectiveness and efficiency in the face of high-impact weather.”
The UK’s business and energy secretary, Kwasi Kwarteng, said, “This project is a major milestone for our National Space Strategy. We are developing the UK’s capabilities as a spacefaring nation and in the process boosting the economy and delivering high-skill jobs. I am delighted the HYMS technology, developed in Oxfordshire, will be put into service by Spire Global. It is further proof of how the UK’s space sector is setting the pace when it comes to developing products that deliver tangible benefits to businesses and governments.”
Spire frequently launches satellites with advanced sensors to collect more weather data and continuously improve its forecasts. It currently has more than 100 multipurpose satellites in its network.