HawkEye 360 CEO John Serafini (Source: HawkEye 360)

HawkEye 360 investing in building own satellites, data analysis

Having secured $145 million in Series D funding, HawkEye 360 will be starting up an in-house production line for increasing its satellites in orbit along with additional IT capabilities to process, analyze, and fuse data from its RF surveillance constellation.

CEO John Serafini said Hawkeye 360 currently has three clusters of satellites in orbit – each cluster composed of three satellites each –and is fully funded to build and launch clusters 4 through 10 with the earlier B and C rounds of funding. The series D round will enable the company to double the number of planned clusters in orbit from 10 to 20.

Increasing the number of clusters of satellites will require a second manufacturing line. Today, Hawkeye 360’s satellites are built at Toronto’s Space Flight Laboratory (SFL) in Canada. SFL builds the spacecraft bus with Hawkeye supplying the software defined radio (SDR) payload for integration.

Serafini said Hawkeye 360 had conducted three RFI/RFP rounds for satellite construction in its six-year history, so it “understands the capabilities and limitations” of third-party satellite manufactures. Building satellites in-house is “the best mechanism for ensuring high quality, driving down price and timeline, giving us maximum flexibility into inserting new technology into clusters,” he said.

Hawkeye 360 will have two production lines, one in-house and one in Canada. Building its own satellites in-house provides HawkEye 360 with cost savings, the flexibility and agility to build satellites on its own timeline as needed rather than being queued behind other customers, and the capability for controlling injection of function as customers needs evolve, Serafini stated.

The latest round of HawkEye 360 Investment capital is to be allocated to three different areas, first the expansion of the constellation from 10 to 20 clusters. Multi-intelligence orchestration is the second area, being able to “tip and queue” using multiple data sources from satellite and other means and to fuse the different sources together for a comprehensive picture. Finally, HawkEye 360 is investing in AL/ML, fueling data science to convert information rapidly into actionable insights.

Hawkeye 360’s vision is to combine multiple sources of Earth Observation data with its own RF data, being “super good” at working with other modalities, Serafinia stated, synthesizing everything into actionable intelligence products. Data will come from its own in-house collection and through partnerships with other vendors at this time.

Doug Mohney

Doug Mohney, a principal at Cidera Analytics, has been working and writing about IT and satellite industries for over 20 years. His real world experience including stints at two start-ups, a commercial internet service provider that went public in 1997 for $150 million and a satellite internet broadband company. Follow him on Twitter at DougonTech or contact him at dmohney139 (at) gmail (dot) com.

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