MagQuest Challenge

NGA MagQuest – Spire And SBQuantum receive award for CubeSat powered solution

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The United States National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency recently launched the MagQuest competition, inviting innovators to submit new ideas for collecting geomagnetic data for the World Magnetic Model (WMM).

Spire partnered with SBQuantum, submitting a joint entry “Diamond-Powered Geomagnetic Data Collection from LEO” that tied for second place.


NGA’s WMM is a representation of the Earth’s magnetic field. It is used in essential public and military systems, including mobile navigation applications, surveying tools, antennas, solar panels, and GPS.

With so many vital technologies relying on the model, accurate and reliable data collection is paramount. The WMM currently uses data collected by the European Space Agency Swarm mission, which was launched in 2013 and is expected to conclude in 2021. For the sake of sustainability, the NGA used the MagQuest challenge to analyze data collection alternatives for the future.


Spire and SBQuantum proposed a diamond quantum magnetometer system deployed on a Spire 6U CubeSat.
Spire’s portion of the solution includes:


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6U CubeSat

Spire designed an in-orbit demonstration of a 6U LEMUR satellite bus with SBQuantum’s modified and integrated commercial magnetic sensor technology.

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Global Ground Network

29 ground stations dispersed globally and store-and-forward concept enhances the value of the data, providing sufficient data distribution, latency, and volume.

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Data Processing & Delivery

Spire uses our cloud-based storage and computing infrastructure to process the measurements, and provide access to end-users through easy-to-use APIs.


Spire and SBQuantum received a total of $425,000 in awards over the three phases of the MagQuest program. Bringing together both companies’ expertise provided NGA a reliable and secure solution with the promise of rapid scalability. Reliability, security, and scalability are offered to every client through Spire’s space services solution.

A competitive procurement for the operational WMM mission solution is slated to be released Q4 2021.

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