TAMPA, Fla. — France-based Unseenlabs has raised 85 million euros ($92 million) behind plans to double its maritime surveillance constellation to 25 nanosatellites for tracking vessels in near real-time.

The company has now raised 120 million euros since being founded nine years ago, CEO and cofounder Clément Galic said Feb. 27.

As well as expanding a fleet of 11 satellites in low Earth orbit over the next few years, the funds enable Unseenlabs to grow its global sales presence, particularly across the U.S. and Asia, and improve the radio-frequency geolocation network’s capabilities.

The network is currently monitoring and tracking signals from ships across the world’s oceans every four to six hours, according to Galic. Plans for a constellation of around 20 satellites by the end of 2025 would cut this revisit time to around 30 minutes, important for environmental monitoring, business intelligence, and responding to maritime disasters.

The satellites are designed to pick up passive radio waves from radars and other electronic systems on a vessel, enabling governments to track illegal activities such as smuggling even if onboard Automatic Identification Systems are turned off.

Unseenlabs has not unveiled the commercial and government customers that Galic says have been providing revenues after its first satellite was deployed in 2019.

The next two satellites, BRO-12 and BRO-13 (Breizh Reconnaissance Orbiter), are slated to launch in March as part of SpaceX’s next Transporter rideshare mission on a Falcon 9.

The venture aims to deploy an extra six satellites later this year, although details about these missions remain under wraps.

While Danish small satellite specialist GomSpace has co-developed satellites for the constellation following an agreement signed in 2017, the French company has also not detailed manufacturing plans for future spacecraft. 

French investors Supernova Invest and ISALT led the Series C funding round along with UNEXO, the private equity arm of France’s Crédit Agricole investment bank.

Competitors in the commercial radio frequency surveillance satellite market include U.S.-based HawkEye 360 and Horizon Space Technologies of the United Kingdom.

Jason Rainbow writes about satellite telecom, space finance and commercial markets for SpaceNews. He has spent more than a decade covering the global space industry as a business journalist. Previously, he was Group Editor-in-Chief for Finance Information...