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The Pioneer satellites were launched on board a Soyuz
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Glaswegian nanosats launched into space

05/07/2019 439 views 13 likes
ESA / Space in Member States / United Kingdom

Two supercomputing nanosatellites that could transform how data is downloaded from space were successfully launched on 5 July.

The pair 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 Scottish-built Spire Global satellites will be used to track aircraft, ships and weather patterns.

Graham Turnock, Chief Executive of the UK Space Agency, said: “Glasgow is Britain’s star city, with more than 100 satellites having been built by Spire Global, based on the Clyde, alone.

“Today these Glaswegian nanosats were launched from Vostochny in Russia but, in the near future, I hope that we can close the loop and design, build, test, launch and manage satellites all from the UK.

“We are ensuring that Scotland and the UK remain at the forefront of the new space age with the establishment of UK spaceports like Sutherland and continued funding support for innovative businesses like Spire Global through the UK government’s industrial strategy.”

Both satellites were developed under ESA’s Pioneer programme, which forms part of its programme of Advanced Research in Telecommunications Systems (ARTES) and aims to support European and Canadian industry to develop satellites for the competitive commercial market.

Khalil Kably, Pioneer Programme Manager for the European Space Agency said: “The whole idea of the Pioneer Programme is to give European and Canadian industries access to space, rapidly and at low cost.

"As soon as they have an innovative idea, such as supercomputing by Spire here, we want themto be able to try it in orbit. It’s the ability to go from a new idea to market very quickly, through in-orbit validation.”