Spire — the space data and services firm which designs, builds, tests, and operates all its satellites in Glasgow — has been awarded a contract by the Canadian Space Agency (CSA) to deliver preparatory work for the implementation phases of a wildfire monitoring satellite.

The contract is the initial step towards the CSA’s planned WildFireSat mission, which aims to monitor all active wildfires in Canada from space on a daily basis. This is to support wildfire management, provide Canadians with more precise information on smoke and air quality conditions, and more accurately measure the carbon emitted by wildfires.

For the contract, Spire will partner with OroraTech — the space thermal intelligence company. The two firms have previously worked together on the successful launch of OroraTech’s wildfire detection and monitoring mission on a Spire satellite in 2022.

OroraTech first partnered with Spire to launch its first payloads — a thermal infrared camera and data processing unit — on a Spire 6U satellite, which has since enabled OroraTech to advance towards its plan to provide data insights to customers every 30 minutes and within 3 minutes from detection at any place on Earth.

The CSA’s feasibility study contract for Spire and OroraTech is testament to how innovative satellite technology can be applied to improve wildfire monitoring and early detection methods. Data can be captured from remote areas of the world and processed quickly to identify current and future risks.

Canada spends around $1 billion every year fighting wildfires, with indirect costs estimated to be several times higher due to resulting property destruction, infrastructure damage, evacuations, health-related expenses, and wider economic losses.

The design and implementation of WildFireSat is anticipated to commence in Spring 2024, with the project expected to be delivered in 2029.

“We are delighted to be collaborating with OroraTech on another exciting project, building upon the momentum generated from our previous mission together,” said Frank Frulio, General Manager of Spire Space Services.

“At Spire, we have a strong track record of demonstrating the benefits that space can bring to life on Earth, and I can’t think of a more important and critical application than protecting our environment, people and property from destructive wildfires. We look forward to supporting the Canadian Space Agency on this important issue.”