One of the world’s biggest satellite companies has announced a move into the global maritime industry. US firm Spire has been developing technology to support maritime radar, which helps ships avoid collisions at sea.
The company, which has a key manufacturing facility in Glasgow, gathers data through its low-Earth orbit satellite network. Spire’s John Lusk said the industry as a whole was on the cusp of huge growth.
Lusk, General Manager of Spire Maritime, said the space data they collected was of use to the maritime industry.
He said, “We’re able to take that data, tracking ships in the wide open ocean and do data analytics and provide solutions for companies in the maritime industry to help them become more efficient.”
He added, “We’ve been operating in ‘stealth mode’ for the last year, trying to get a sense of if there was a opportunity with our maritime data.
“Our customers are constantly asking us for more solutions around the maritime industry, we felt this was a great opportunity to spin off maritime as a business.”
San Francisco-based Spire, whose European headquarters is in Luxembourg, is also playing a key role in Scotland’s growing space industry.
In the past two years, Glasgow has built more satellites than any other city in Europe, and Scotland is now in a prime position to become home the UK’s first spaceport.
Lusk told the BBC, “If you look at investment in big data, I think we’re at the very beginning of massive investment in the space industry. If you think about a satellite launched even two decades ago, you were looking at a multi-billion dollar massive bus that we had to launch into space.”
“Through technology and innovation, those satellites are becoming much smaller and launching satellites into space is not that expensive compared to what it used to be.”
Sea News, February 5