Take-off for UK government-backed supercomputer nanosatellites

The ‘nanosatellites’, which are built-in Glasgow and are similar to the size of a microwave, have joined a fleet of nearly 100 objects in low Earth orbit that monitor shipping movements, assisting in predicting global trade and making business more cost-effective and efficient.

Take-off for UK government-backed supercomputer nanosatellites
Take-off for UK government-backed supercomputer nanosatellites

Take-off for UK government-backed supercomputer nanosatellites

Four nanosatellites backed by the government of the United Kingdom were launched on September 28. The satellites are shoebox-sized and two have supercomputers built into them.

The ‘nanosatellites’, which are built-in Glasgow and are similar to the size of a microwave, have joined a fleet of nearly 100 objects in low Earth orbit that monitor shipping movements, assisting in predicting global trade and making business more cost-effective and efficient.

Despite their size, nanosatellites can do everything a normal satellite does. Two of the Spire nanosatellites have an onboard supercomputer and intelligent machine-learning algorithms. They can help provide precise predictions of the locations of boats, track their whereabouts and calculate their arrival times at ports.

It will permit port businesses and authorities to manage busy docks safely. Two more Spire satellites launched alongside them, both of which will be used to forge inter-satellite links. 

These connections will allow satellites to act as relays, transmitting data to one another and down to ground stations, which will cut the time between data collection and its delivery. 

GOV.UK quoted Science Minister Amanda Solloway as saying that while nanosatellites are just the size of a shoebox, they have the power and intelligence of a regular satellite and are driving a revolution in how they observe their planet.

She added that backed by £10 million of UK government funding, these extraordinary nanosatellites will not only help predict global trade and make businesses more cost-effective but will also help ensure that the UK remains at the forefront of satellite development.