LeoLabs tracks objects in low-Earth orbit, including payloads, rocket bodies and debris, with a network of ground based radars. Credit: LeoLabs

SAN FRANCISCO – LeoLabs raised $29 million, bringing the space object tracking firm’s funding to date to more than $120 million.

With the latest funding, announced Feb. 12, LeoLabs will “not only scale our existing technologies and capabilities, but also develop new ones,” Dan Ceperley, LeoLabs CEO and co-founder, told SpaceNews by email. The company’s goal is to “further enable global integrations and interoperability between both allied governments for Space Domain Awareness and satellite operators for Space Situational Awareness,” he added.

With proceeds from previous funding rounds, LeoLabs established a global network of ground-based radars that track more than 20,000 objects in low-Earth orbit. The extensive data collected by the radars is processed with artificial intelligence. As a result, LeoLabs can detect on-orbit maneuvers, categorize objects, characterize unknown objects and analyze patterns of behavior.

“We have AI solutions that are integrated into our own proprietary data,” Ceperley said.

In addition, LeoLabs is “exploring new radar technologies” that could “provide more comprehensive, continuous coverage of small orbital debris,” launch vehicles and satellites in very low Earth orbit, Ceperley said.

Venture Capital

GP Bullhound led the LeoLabs funding round. Participants include 1941, Dolby Family Ventures, Insight Partners, Velvet Sea Ventures, Space Capital, MDSV Capital and the AngelList Syndicate. 

“This investment, led by GP Bullhound, enables us to accelerate this effort by bolstering our data architecture and system software,” Ceperley said in a statement. “We’re eager to continue serving the space sector as a key operational partner and enable its growth in an emerging era of tens of thousands of satellites.”

LeoLabs works with government agencies to share “its space domain expertise and real-time insights on anomalous space activities,” according to the news release. Commercial satellite operators also rely on LeoLabs for orbital data and safety alerts.

In January, the Office of Space Commerce announced orders with COMSPOC, LeoLabs and Slingshot Aerospace to provide data and services on objects in low-Earth orbit. The Office of Space Commerce is developing a civil space traffic coordination system, called Traffic Coordination System for Space.

“Space is becoming one of the key growth areas of this decade and beyond,” Per Roman, GP Bullhound managing partner, said in a statement. “LeoLabs is already the category leader at tracking this data in its extreme complexity — a position we find unique and attractive. We are also deeply concerned that if humanity’s space expansion is not monitored and managed in a fair and equitable way, we may end up with environmental challenges in space that can harm life on our planet.” 

LeoLabs operates phased array radars in Alaska, Australia, Portugal’s Azores archipelagoNew ZealandTexas and Costa Rica. An additional radar is being established in Argentina.

Debra Werner is a correspondent for SpaceNews based in San Francisco. Debra earned a bachelor’s degree in communications from the University of California, Berkeley, and a master’s degree in Journalism from Northwestern University. She...