In 2012, Peter, Joel, and Jeroen sat in a cafe in Strasbourg, France, brought together from three different countries by the International Space University. There, they scribbled down the genesis of Spire's mission: use nanosatellites to change the way we gather data about our planet, then put it into the hands of people that will have the biggest positive impact.
Spire collects data with sensors that are programmable and re-programmable when in orbit. It's applying Moore's Law to space, making sure Spire's sensors are as up to date as the latest cellphone.
Spire collects data where the number - not the size - of sensors matters. Each LEMUR satellite can hold multiple sensors in one 10cm x 10cm x 30 cm bus. With more than 60 satellites in orbit, Spire has an enormous network of sensors monitoring the movement of the Earth's global trade, weather, and natural systems. By using many satellites rather than just a few, data is updated more often. Spire makes physics work in its favor.
Spire collects data where no one else can, capturing radio frequencies in remote and inaccessible locations where ground-based receivers cannot reach. Whether it's AIS, ADS-B, GNSS-RO, or Total Electron Content (TEC) - Spire monitors signals that can only be detected from space.
Spire satellites stay in LEO, don’t take pictures, and probably won’t ever provide TV coverage.
Imaging (taking pictures) from space requires a very large lens and a very large sensor. So big in fact, that Spire’s nanosatellites wouldn’t be able to do anything else unless the size was increased. Spire sticks to applications that use small, power-efficient sensors (broadcasting TV or radio would require high power) to serve the world with better data. Staying in Low Earth Orbit (LEO) helps Spire take advantage of the number of sensors by passing over each place on Earth hundreds of times per day.
What Happens When Spire Satellites Reach Their End?
When a satellite is placed in a low enough orbit and has low enough mass, then it naturally de-orbits in a fairly short amount of time. You can always count on physics. For a Spire LEMUR, that's typically 1-5 years depending on the orbit. With a proliferation of nanosatellites, Spire has committed to being a responsible space actor.
With founders from three different countries, Spire was a global company right from the start.
Peter Platzer (born in Austria), Joel Spark (born in Canada), and Jeroen Cappaert (born in Belgium) started the company’s first office in San Francisco. Shortly thereafter, Spire opened additional offices in Singapore, UK, US, and Luxembourg.
Spire’s mission is to inspire, lead, and create the business of earth observation for the benefit of all mankind. Join us!