Spire has debuted their capability in Global Positioning Satellite Radio Occultation (GPS-RO) aboard each of their nano-satellites, 20 of which are going up in 2015. Many markets, from shipping to global trade to insurance to financial markets to agriculture, are heavily influenced by climate and weather. In fact, weather impacts $5.7 trillion in US gross domestic product (GDP). Spire has maintained a vision toward the weather market since its debut, but as they launch 20 satellites, this vision is becoming reality.
In December 2014 the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) issued two reports to the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Science, Space, and Technology highlighting coming gaps in the weather data market. Temperature, pressure, and other raw weather data provided to make nearly all forecasts, are powered by very few government satellites that command massive budgets, and utilize legacy technology. These programs are set to expire, and replacement strategies are protracted in timeline, bloated in budget.
SpaceX is a private company that offered its services to the federal government. They would focus on commercial orbital transportation, and NASA could focus on the hard science. Similarly, companies like Spire are beginning to offer commercial alternatives to government weather data, providing thousands of GPS-RO weather data profiles gathered by the nano-satellites daily. This data need not replace public sector data, but ought to augment it. After all, this data is commercially available, privately funded, lower-cost, and higher-frequency weather data. Whether as secondary, redundant data that helps scientists model better weather predictions, or a replacement strategy over time, weather impacts over 30 percent, or $5.7 trillion dollars, of the US economy.