Hawkeye 360 taps UTIAS Space Flight Laboratory to build 12 more satellites

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SAN FRANCISCO — ​​HawkEye 360 has selected the University of Toronto Institute for Aerospace Studies Space Flight Laboratory to build its next generation of satellites to fly in formation and pinpoint the origin of radio-frequency signals.

“After proving the value and accuracy of our first satellites and securing the Series B investment, we are now quickly scaling our business to support customer demand,” John Serafini, HawkEye 360 CEO, said in a statement. “These next-generation satellites will improve our capabilities and expand our constellation for faster revisit rates, which translates into better insights for a safer world across maritime, air and land domains.”

Hawkeye 360 launched its first three satellites built by UTIAS Space Flight Laboratory in December. Last year, Hawkeye 360 awarded UTIAS Space Flight Laboratory a contract to build three more satellites.

The latest contract, announced Sept. 18, covers the last 12 satellites Hawkeye needs to complete its 18-satellite constellation. Hawkeye 360 declined to comment on the value of the contract.

“We selected Space Flight Laboratory for both its expertise and flight heritage,” Chris DeMay, Hawkeye 360 founder and chief technology officer, said in a statement. “Their innovative work designing our current satellites met all technical objectives, including reliably conducting formation flying maneuvers. Now, Space Flight Laboratory will help us bring this next stage of the constellation to completion.”

Hawkeye 360 satellites operate in clusters of three, flying in tight formation to geolocate the radio frequency signals. With 18 satellites in orbit, Hawkeye 360 will be able to revisit locations with an average frequency of less than an hour, according to the news release.

In August, Hawkeye 360 announced it raised $70 million in a Series B financing round. That money combined with more than $30 million raised previously will allow HawkEye 360 to complete construction and launch of all six satellite clusters, Serafini said in a recent interview.

UTIAS Space Flight Laboratory plans to equip the new satellites with a new radio frequency payload developed by Hawkeye 360. “The satellites will geolocate more signals across a wider frequency range with improved accuracy and reduced data latency for more timely delivery to customers,” according to the news release.

HawkEye 360 satellites began commercial operations in April. Since then, HawkEye has worked with customers to test and bring to market products like RFGeo, which identifies and maps the location of emitters, and RFMosaic, which prrovides broad surveys of radio-frequency activity in a region.