The UK Space Agency has successfully launched two small weather satellites into orbit as part of the European Space Agency’s (ESA) ARTES Pioneer program.
The Glasgow-built nanosats weigh 5kg (2.2lb) each and will be used to glean temperature, pressure and humidity information for weather forecasting and climate change monitoring.
Designed and built by aerospace engineer Spire Global, the ‘first-of-their-kind’ satellites are unique due to their function, size, low cost and quick build time.
The UK Space Agency claims the style of satellite could revolutionize developments in space, which has traditionally been slow and expensive for commercial ventures.
Graham Turnock, chief executive, UK Space Agency, said, “These incredibly clever pint-sized satellites built in Glasgow could slash the complexity and cost of access to space, presenting an exciting opportunity for the UK to thrive in the commercial space age.
“Through our £4m (US$5m) development funding in ESA’s ARTES Pioneer program, the government’s Industrial Strategy and by working closely with our international partners, we are helping Scottish businesses transform their ideas into commercial realities, resulting in jobs, growth and innovation,” he said.
Peter Platzer, CEO of Spire Global, said, “Spire has been focused on developing unique data sources with high frequency updates for the entire Earth and has over 60 LEMUR-2 class satellites deployed in space with a complementary global ground station network.
“Under Pioneer, we can offer our extensive experience in manufacturing and managing small spacecraft like these to those who cannot afford to waste money and time to do it themselves.” - December 2018