HawkEye 360 launches commercial RF signal mapping from space

Herndon, Virginia-based HawkEye 360 this week announced it has launched RFGeo, the first commercial radio frequency signal mapping service conducted by satellite.  RFGeo uses the data generated by its constellation of RF-sensing small satellites to identify and geolocate RF signals and is also the company’s first commercially available product.

“With the launch of RFGeo, HawkEye 360 is now fulfilling customer orders,” said HawkEye 360 Chief Executive Officer John Serafini. “Through RFGeo, customers will access the powerful RF analytics generated by our satellite constellation, so they can gain a more comprehensive view of the world. We are much more than just a data source. HawkEye 360 is bringing truly compelling RF analytics to the market, further cementing our position as an exciting and fast- growing leader in the new space field.”

While RF signals are everywhere, HawkEye 360 is providing a unique commercial service that can independently locate, process, and track a broad range of signals without the use of aircraft or ground vehicles and do so on a regular basis.  Initially, the RFGeo product will support maritime and rescue applications, such as the identification and location of maritime VHF radio, marine emergency distress beacons and ship-based Automatic Identification System (AIS) signals.

HawkEye 360 will expand its signal catalog to support more applications in the months to come, with benefits for defense, border security, maritime, emergency response, and telecommunications.  Customers will be able to order spectrum surveys of geographical areas, identifying where and when different types of spectrum are used. Results from RFGeo are delivered in a standardized format for loading into common commercial GIS platforms, so customers can simply load RF analysis into existing applications.

The first trio of HawkEye 360 satellites were built by University of Toronto’s Space Flight Laboratory (SFL) and launched onboard the SpaceX SSO-A rideshare flight that took place in December 2018.  SFL has been commissioned to build the next trio of HawkEye 360 satellites with a potential launch taking place by the end of the year. The company plans to launch at least 6 clusters of 3 satellites for rapid revisit coverage with a goal of 30 satellites (10 clusters of 3) in orbit for revisit times between 10-20 minutes.

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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