UK-Built Nanosatellites Ready for Launch

UK-Built Nanosatellites Ready for Launch

In the next two months, four shoe box-sized, government-funded satellites will run alongside an orbital global fleet of space objects in low Earth orbit.

Two nanosatellites built in Glasgow will be launched aboard the Russian Soyuz launcher on Friday 24th September. The government-backed spacecrafts will join an assemblage of over 100 objects in low Earth orbit, all working on the prediction of global trade developments.

Of the four satellites manufactured by Spire Global UK, two of the satellites will be launched into orbit on Friday, while the other two will be placed abord an Indian PSLV launcher, which is due to launch on 1st November.

All four nanosatellites were backed by a £6 million investment from the government. Machine-learning algorithms will be utilised by these nanosatellites to predict the journeys and whereabouts of boats and tracking the estimated time of arrival to port.

Predicting such movements will enable safe management of busy bocks, by granting port businesses and authorities access to the data collected by the nanosatellites.

The nanosatellites due for launch are approximately no larger than the size of a shoe box, though can carry out all functions of that of a conventional satellite. The nanosatellites were entirely designed and manufactured by Spire Global UK, having integrated and tested the complete spacecrafts in the company’s headquarters based in Glasgow.

Spire Global UK is a data company powered by satellites that provides prognostic analysis or global weather, shipping, and aviation forecasting.

The global trade prediction services have been created under co-funding received from the UK Space Agency as part of the ESA Pioneer programme, a partnership project that aims to reduce the risks facing partner investments while fulfilling market needs.

The Pioneer programme supports the development of accessible and inexpensive access to space, provided to both public and private organisations with the satellite telecommunications industry, all the while generating innovative opportunities in the satellite communications market.

Chief executive of the UK Space Agency Graham Turnock said:

“Nanosatellites weigh less than a piece of cabin luggage but are enormously powerful in what they can do.

“These four Spire Global UK satellites are aimed at making trade hyper-accurate, with technology that makes business more cost effective and efficient.

“Scotland’s space sector is booming. Our membership of the European Space Agency is benefiting companies across the UK, and we are committed to supporting the space economy in every region”.

Chief executive and co-founder of Spire Global Peter Platzer said:

“By launching a true super-computer into orbit, we can analyse data right in orbit, using smart algorithms and machine learning. This will allow us to obtain better, smarter, and faster analytics to our customers to assist them with their business decisions”.


1. GOV.UK (2020), UK-built nanosatellites ready for take off

2. Express & Star (2020), UK-built nanosatellites to be launched this month

3. Leigh Journal (2020), UK-built nanosatellites to be launched this month