Spire is a company that operates with the stated goal of “collecting data from space to solve problems on Earth.” The company does this, in part, by using a constellation of satellites to identify and track global resources and weather systems. Spire has recently announced the release of the Spire Aviation AirSafe API.
The new API exists as a component of the company’s aviation product and relies upon satellites in low-Earth orbit (LEO) to aid in collecting Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast (ADS-B) data. ADS-B is a technology that allows an aircraft to periodically (and automatically, as the name implies) broadcast its location, allowing it to be tracked. There was a point when ADS-B receivers were located terrestrially, leaving oceanic and remote airspace without coverage. By equipping satellites with ADS-B receivers (Spire currently has 13 ADS-B equipped satellites in LEO) and linking them together, companies like Spire are now able to provide near-global coverage of aircraft tracking data. This information is combined with ground-based tracking data to cover over 70 million position reports daily.
Spire AirSafe also includes the company’s weather forecasting products that “enable customers to benefit from fused aircraft location positional data and global winds aloft (Every 1,000 feet MSL) and clear air turbulence forecast.” It appears that early trials for the service have just begun, and developers looking to work with the company should reach out to Spire to inquire about additional product details.