Military Embedded Systems

RF-sensing satellites successfully in orbit, will feed unclassified data to analysts, HawkEye 360 reports


January 27, 2021

Lisa Daigle

Assistant Managing Editor

Military Embedded Systems

Image courtesy HawkEye 360

HERNDON, Va. Satellite company HawkEye 360 announced that its second cluster of satellites has successfully been deployed into orbit and will soon be detecting, characterizing, and geolocating different kinds of radio frequency (RF) signals; the satellites were launched aboard the SpaceX Falcon 9 on January 24. 

HawkEye 360's satellites can detect RF emissions all over the world, including commercial signals that the intelligence community were not previously able to access. Analysis of both the commercial and classified RF signals, say company officials, has a number of applications for the defense and intelligence community, from giving warfighters a better understanding of RF activity on the battlefield to gaining better maritime domain awareness by detecting ships that have disabled their automatic identification system.

“The expansion of our pioneering constellation is the first of several strong steps we have planned to multiply our existing capabilities and explore new possibilities for RF geospatial intelligence,” said HawkEye 360 CEO John Serafini. “We are proud to be the leading provider of RF insights to U.S. government, international governments, commercial and humanitarian interests, and we believe our newest deployment, which increases the frequency, quality and quantity of insights we are able to deliver, will be an invaluable resource for our customers.”

Reports of the launch also note that HawkEye 360 will launch five additional clusters totaling 15 satellites over the next 18 months to establish its initial baseline constellation; once it's completely deployed, the satellite constellation will have a global revisit rate of under an hour to support time-sensitive monitoring of active and developing situations.

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