WASHINGTON — Australian startup HEO, which uses space-based sensors to inspect and image objects in orbit, announced Aug. 23 it has completed an $8 million Series A funding round.  

Previously known as HEO Robotics, the company changed its name to just HEO to reflect its focus on commercial in-orbit inspection and space-based space situational awareness, the company’s co-founder and CEO William Crowe said during a presentation in Sydney, Australia.

The funding round was led by Airtree Ventures, an Australian venture capital firm. Other investors include Salus VC, Y Combinator, In-Q-Tel, David Harding and Steve Baxter.

HEO specializes in the burgeoning field of non-Earth imagery, or satellite-to-satellite imaging. Rather than operate its own inspector satellites, HEO relies on partner companies to host the company’s software platform on their imaging satellites.

The company currently uses data collected by 39 space sensors from partner companies, including Satellogic and Axelspace.

An image collected in mid-2022 of the International Space Station was made more clear using HEO software. Credit: HEO

HEO leases time on partner companies’ imaging satellites and can task those 39 imagers to take pictures in order to characterize a space object. HEO’s customers include commercial satellite operators and government agencies that want to prevent their spacecraft from colliding with debris objects or keep watch of other hazards.

Enrico Palermo, head of the  Australian Space Agency, said HEO’s satellite inspection technology is “enhancing our understanding of space debris, satellite movements, and potential threats.”

Crowe said HEO is doing business in Australia, the United Kingdom and the United States. The company recently opened its first U.S. office in the Washington, D.C. area.

Sandra Erwin writes about military space programs, policy, technology and the industry that supports this sector. She has covered the military, the Pentagon, Congress and the defense industry for nearly two decades as editor of NDIA’s National Defense...