Spire Global has been awarded £800,000 by the government-backed Defence and Security Accelerator (DASA) as part of its Space to Innovate Campaign’s Themed Competition.
The funding is the largest to date awarded to a Scottish innovator. Spire is a leading provider of space-based data, analytics and space services. The award will support the demonstration of radio frequency (RF) signals detection and geolocation from multiple satellites in Spire’s low earth orbit (LEO) nanosatellite constellation.
The RF spectrum is frequently at risk of unauthorised use, interference or manipulation and as a result, the monitoring of RF activity has become increasingly important to government entities. Spire’s capabilities in building and operating LEO multi-payload satellites capable of collecting and analysing a wide variety of signals can play a crucial role in supporting this monitoring process. The company will demonstrate its ability to geolocate RF signals emitted near the Earth’s surface, focusing on L-Band SATCOM signals, and investigate further geolocation techniques using Spire nanosatellites designed and manufactured in Glasgow, Scotland.
Promoting space resilience and operational effectiveness
The Space to Innovate Campaign was launched in collaboration with DASA and the Defence Technology Laboratory (Dstl) space programme to promote space resilience and operational effectiveness. The campaign seeks proposals that can maintain the UK’s freedom of action in the space domain by developing future space technologies that enhance and protect space military and civil potential.
The campaign format is unique from other DASA competitions and comprises space-related challenges which will be released in ‘drops’ throughout 2021 and 2022. This approach enables greater variation of contract values and durations to be issued by DASA, which provides larger and longer contracts for more mature technologies, whilst also enabling less mature innovations to be explored.
Theresa Condor, EVP & GM Spire Space Services at Spire Global Inc said: “It is an honour for us to be selected by DASA for this mission in support of the UK Government and its defence activities and to be recognised as part of Scotland’s innovative space technology scene. Using Spire expertise in signal detection and geolocation, the project will take advantage of our capabilities as a space services provider and utilise the expertise and heritage of our low earth orbit nanosatellite constellation, consisting of more than 100 satellites and 17 ground stations globally.”
Largest funding award for a Scottish innovator
Debra Carr, Innovation Partner at DASA, said: “I’m thrilled that Spire has been awarded this funding – the largest award we have given to an innovator in Scotland. They are a fantastic company to work with, and their impressive technology that helps us understand the present and potential impact of RF signal detection and geolocation is a great showcase of Scottish contributions to the space domain. This fund decision further reinforces the unique type of technologies that Scotland can offer defence.”
Pictured: HM the Queen on a visit to Spire earlier this summer