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San Francisco firm to launch weather satellites

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San Francisco, California-based startup Spire recently announced plans to deploy 20 weather satellites into low-Earth orbit to generate a database of global weather data.

San Francisco firm to launch weather satellites

San Francisco, California-based startup Spire recently announced plans to deploy 20 weather satellites into low-Earth orbit to generate a database of global weather data.

Spire believes it will soon have the world’s largest weather database.

“This satellite data system will provide five times more weather data than the world has today by the end of 2015,” CEO Peter Platzer.

The company eventually plans to operate 125 orbiting sensors, Cubesats, which are inexpensive, shoebox-sized nanosatellites with a relatively short life span.

The Spire nanosatellites will not have cameras, but will sense the weather using GPS occultation. GPS occultation monitors the distortion in radio signals to calculate temperature, air pressure and moisture in the troposphere.

Spire plans to serve what it perceives as an underserved market – the world’s oceans. Spire has previous experience in tracking cargo ships and illegal fishing vessels and brings that experience to monitoring weather conditions at sea.

Platzer said his company will build on investments already made by government entities, especially in the United States.

“We stand on the shoulders of giants,” said Platzer. “The company has a tremendous appreciation of what has been done.”

Platzer said Spire’s business model calls for Spire data to be shared between governments and distributed to a broad audience.

“I believe in the human birthright of having protection from extreme weather events,” he said.

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