- Satellite Evolution
Spire Global unveils next-generation 16U satellite bus with up to double the payload capacity
Spire Global, Inc., a leading global provider of space-based data, analytics and space services, revealed a next-generation 16U satellite bus design at Space Tech Expo Europe. The satellite bus is tailored for customers with missions that require larger payloads and more power, volume, and data capabilities than a conventional 16U, such as Earth observation and space domain awareness missions.
Spire, which operates the world’s largest multipurpose satellite constellation, designs and builds its satellites entirely in-house at its manufacturing facility in Glasgow. The company has built and launched more than 150 satellites, carrying nearly 500 years of spaceflight heritage across its fleet.
Exolaunch’s EXOpod Nova deployer, a custom launch deployer developed in partnership with Spire, has enabled the company to optimize the capacity and volume of the satellite while still fitting into standard deployment settings. The 16U satellite can accommodate payloads of up to 30 kilograms.
“Increasingly we’re seeing that our customers’ missions require buses that offer the performance of a larger satellite with the agility of a nanosatellite,” said Joel Spark, Co-Founder and General Manager, Space Services, Spire. “It’s a tall order, but we’ve leveraged our extensive space heritage and experience in satellite design and manufacturing to build a one-of-a-kind satellite bus that checks all those boxes. Our next-gen satellite has been a natural next step for us, driven by the needs of the market.
Spire Space Services customers can leverage the company’s proven space, ground and web infrastructure to quickly scale their own constellation. In 2023, Spire will launch its next-gen 16U satellites to orbit, carrying payloads for Space Services customers NorthStar Earth & Space and GHGSat.
“Spire Global is leading the market to address a growing demand for affordable access to space,” said Stewart Bain, NorthStar Earth & Space CEO and Co-Founder. “The timing of this new product fits well with NorthStar's plans to launch the first commercial space-based services to improve space situational awareness precision and coverage over all near-Earth orbits. NorthStar is pleased to be engaged with Spire in this endeavour as part of a vibrant and innovative space economic ecosystem.”
“This is an exciting time for the space sector in Scotland. Businesses such as Spire Global are delivering innovative new satellites, helping to position Scotland as a global leader for commercial space developments gaining a £1 billion share of the global space market,” said Scottish Government Minister for Business, Trade, Tourism and Enterprise, Ivan McKee MSP. “We continue to lead the way in small satellite manufacturing, with our manufacturing hub in Glasgow and innovative new designs like the next-generation 16U satellite bus design from Spire highlighting the ambition set out in our ten-year transformation strategy to build an internationally competitive economy founded on entrepreneurship and innovation.”