HawkEye 360 raises $9.6 million for more RF detection satellites

Herndon, Virginia-based Hawkeye 360 has raised $9.6 million to develop, build, and launch its first commercial satellite cluster.  Participants in the round include Razor’s Edge Ventures, “a U.S. Aerospace and Defense Company,” Allied Minds and Shield Capital.  Additional investors are expected to join in a “second closing” of the Series A-3 financing round soon.

“We are pleased to have secured additional capital commitments to fund our first commercial cluster,” John Serafini, CEO of HawkEye 360 said. “This cluster will augment our PathFinder Cluster scheduled for launch later this year.”

HawkEye’s three satellite Pathfinder Cluster is scheduled to be launched later this year onboard the Spaceflight Industries SSO-A rideshare flight carrying over 70 small satellites into orbit. The trio of satellites flying in formation will be able to more accurately triangulate radio signals on the ground than a single satellite.

Being able to observe and monitor radio frequency (RF) usage from space generates numerous commercial and governmental applications.  Hawkeye 360 plans to dynamically map spectrum usage, providing regulatory agencies and wireless companies real-time data on utilization and spot interference.  Regulators will be able to assess the usage of licensed spectrum and potentially find new spectrum for commercial applications.

Other applications Hawkeye 360 has mapped out are monitoring maritime activity independent of AIS ship tracking beacons, search and rescue location, and transportation activity and logistic tracking.  Serafini says the company has built a significant order backlog and has several agreements with customers for beta testing of its first Maritime Domain Awareness product. Kratos Defense & Security Solutions signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with Hawkeye last year to explore applying Hawkeye’s space-based RF detection and geolocation services with Kratos’ carrier monitoring, interference detection, and geolocation offerings.  Lockheed Martin is also reportedly working with the company. 

Hawkeye 360 expects to commence commercial operations in 2019.  No timetable was given as to when the first commercial cluster would launch and join the pathfinder cluster in orbit.  The company plans to operate a fleet of 30 satellites in orbit, enabling it to gather new signals from any point on the planet within 30 to 45 minutes.

In November 2016, Hawkeye 360 announced its’ first $11 million in venture funding, providing it with the initial capital to build and launch its pathfinder cluster.  

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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