Spire and OroraTech will launch a fleet of wildfire-monitoring satellites

The past few wildfire seasons in the United States and Canada have been some of the most memorable — and dangerous — on record. But despite the billions of dollars that each government pours into fighting fires, first responders are still in need of real-time wildfire detection and monitoring data.

Enter Spire Global and OroraTech. Today, the two companies announced that they would put a constellation of eight global temperature and wildfire-monitoring satellites into orbit by mid-2024.

This is not the first collaboration between the two firms. Two satellites, called Forest Observation (Forest)-1 and Recognition Experimental Smallsat Thermal Detector (Forest-2) are already in orbit. They leverage Spire’s satellite platform, integration services and ground station and OroraTech’s thermal-infrared optical temperature monitor. This new fleet of eight satellites will expand upon this work.

The satellites will not just monitor active wildfires; according to a press release, they will also identify areas at risk of wildfires, areas that OroraTech says are increasing due to climate change. Insights collected will benefit not only first responders but also the insurance and energy sectors  

The partnership is one example of Spire’s “space-as-a-service” subscription model, which essentially lets participating organizations quickly operate payload in space using Spire’s existing services and spacecraft.

In a statement, Dr. Axel Roenneke, OroraTech’s chief commercial officer, said the subscription service was “invaluable” in helping the company rapidly reach space. No doubt it makes a lot of sense for other startups who may not have the capital — or the business interest — in building out their own spacecraft, operations and ground infrastructure.

OroraTech was founded in 2018 as a spinoff of the Technical University of Munich. Last November, the company announced a €15 million ($16.4 million) Series A led by Belgium-based climate impact fund Edaphon.

The two companies also announced in May that they were awarded a contract from the Canadian Space Agency for a dedicated wildlife-monitoring satellite.

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