Launched machine learning nanosatellites to forecast global trade

The last batch of tiny satellites has been launched to observe trade on Earth from space. This is reported by the European Space Agency (ESA).

The nanosatellites built in Glasgow are joining a fleet of about 100 objects in low Earth orbit. Their data will help predict the movement of the world’s resources to inform businesses and governments.

Two satellites with machine learning capabilities were launched on the Russian Soyuz launch vehicle, along with two more satellites that will be used to establish inter-satellite communications. Thus, they will act as repeaters, sending data to each other and to ground stations, which will shorten the time between data collection and delivery.

The satellites were built by Spire Global UK, which provides forecast and analysis for global shipping, aviation and weather forecasts based on satellite data.

Thanks to the embedded intelligent machine learning algorithms, Spire satellites will be able to predict both the location of ships and the estimated time of arrival of ships in port. This will enable the secure management of busy docks and businesses in the marketplace to determine the prices of goods carried on board.

Spire’s staff designs and builds all subsystems and integrates and tests the entire spacecraft at the company’s Glasgow headquarters.

The new satellite system will provide better, smarter and faster analytics for making business decisions.

These unusual nanosatellites will not only help predict global trade and make business more profitable, but also ensure that the UK remains at the forefront of satellite development.

Amanda Solloway, UK Minister of Science

The satellites were developed under the ESA Pioneer program, which is a partnership project co-financed by the UK Space Agency. The UK remains the leading member of the ESA.