In a recent announcement, SSIT portfolio company, Spire Global (SPIR) revealed that its Space Services division has been awarded a €16M contract by the European Space Agency (ESA) for its EURIALO Project. The contract focuses on the development of a groundbreaking Low Earth Orbit (LEO) demonstrator satellite with advanced instruments capable of precisely locating aircraft using RF signals. By employing multilateration (MLAT) technology, this new surveillance system will revolutionise aircraft tracking by enabling real-time monitoring from takeoff to landing, regardless of global location.

Under the terms of the agreement, Spire will construct the initial LEO demonstrator satellite for ESA, showcasing its capabilities to gather RF signals emitted by aircraft to triangulate their precise positions over Earth. Currently, aircraft surveillance networks primarily rely on GPS/GNSS satellites to collect self-reported signals from aircraft via their ADS-B transmitters. However, the implementation of MLAT technology will offer a more comprehensive and accurate surveillance system.

The ESA contract is structured in multiple phases, opening the potential for Spire to receive additional funding to develop a "full constellation" of "a large number of" MLAT satellites. This constellation would enhance the aircraft surveillance network significantly, providing unprecedented global coverage and improved tracking capabilities.

The collaboration between Spire Global and the European Space Agency represents a remarkable advancement in space technology's practical applications for the aviation industry. As the project progresses through its various phases, it holds the promise of transforming aircraft surveillance and contributing to enhanced safety and efficiency in air travel worldwide.

Find out more here