Europe’s meteorological satellite authority is purchasing commercial data for the first time, increasing hopes that more agency and government deals may be made available to the private sector. Eumetsat, a European intergovernmental organization with 30 member states, established a trial program on Aug. 5 to purchase weather forecasting data from Spire Global based in Luxembourg.
It agreed to pay up to $11 million over three years for the radio occultation data collected by Spire, giving Eumetsat greater information on the temperature and moisture levels of the atmosphere to improve weather forecasting models. Spire’s data will be combined with data Eumetsat receives from other sources. Spire operates over 100 nanosatellites in the low Earth orbit and expects to begin trading on New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) this summer.
“While EUMETSAT already provides meteorological services in its Member States with radio occultation data from the instrument on board its Metop low-Earth-orbiting satellites, research has shown that using more of these data improves the reliability of weather forecasting frameworks,” Phil Evans, Eumetsat Director General stated in a statement. The trial allows the group to “evaluate the costs against the benefits of prospects that are accessible from” space companies, according to Evans, who was named director-general in January.
Eumetsat has been granted a global license to access Spire’s data in almost real under the terms of the arrangement. It also permits the agency to exchange data with third parties right away. According to Luis Gomes, the agreement is “excellent news” for space companies, CEO of AAC Clyde Space, a Swedish satellite manufacturer and space solutions supplier. AAC Clyde Space is a tiny satellite technology and services company that specializes in providing corporations, governments, and educational organizations with access to high-quality, real-time data from space using small satellite services and technologies. Sweden, United Kingdom, the Netherlands, and the United States are the group’s primary operating countries, with partner links in Japan and South Korea.
“Commercial firms may be a valuable ally in drastically expanding weather data collecting by delivering more timely data and entirely new forms of data to market,” Gomes added. Omnisys, a company that creates weather sensors and instrumentation for space, was recently bought by AAC Clyde Space.
“This is a critical breakthrough in European weather data legislation for firms like AAC Clyde Space, which are pursuing sophisticated weather data missions,” Gomes noted. “This is the beginning of a revolution in how we retrieve space weather data. I am confident that it will change how we forecast and manage the weather. As our environment rapidly changes, it is a field of growth that is becoming increasingly important.”