LatConnect 60 selects York to build and operate satellites

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SAN FRANCISCO – Australian Earth observation startup LatConnect 60 announced plans June 9 to hire York Space Systems to manufacture small satellites and to operate its Earth observation constellation.

LatConnect 60, a company founded in 2019, plans to launch its first satellite in 2021 and to establish an initial constellation of three satellites with multiple payloads, including radio frequency detection sensors and multispectral imaging cameras.

By relying on artificial intelligence, each LatConnect 60 satellite will be “able to autonomously geolocate and process RF signals identified in order to trigger its imaging payload and any other secondary payloads” to collect data, according to a June 9 news release. Data collected will be “fused and delivered to end users in an Activity Intelligence Report,” the release added.

“We strongly believe in LatConnect 60’s mission, especially as it serves to help national security surveillance efforts by the Australian government,” Dirk Wallinger, York Space Systems CEO, said in a statement. “We are eager to work with their team on this constellation build out to not only further highlight our delivery times and competitive price points but to also be a part of the latest innovation in space.”

LatConnect 60 selected York for “their design methodology, delivery and mission services plan,” LatConnect 60 CEO Venkat Pillay said in a statement. He also praised “York’s fast delivery time, which is well under nine months to orbit and at an attractive price point.”

York Space Systems is expanding rapidly. The company, which seeks to mass manufacture small satellites for commercial and government customers, unveiled a manufacturing facility in Denver in May that is three times the size of its previous plant.

LatConnect 60 is developing a small satellite constellation to provide “critical Earth observation data required by the Australian government and a wide range of commercial clients across the world,” according to the news release.

The LatConnect 60 website advertises: “high resolution satellite imagery and RF signal intelligence data collected concurrently multiple times a day from low earth orbit over Australia, Asia Pacific, Middle East, Africa, Europe and Americas.”