HawkEye 360 adds satellites to geolocation constellation

June 4, 2022  - By

Three HawkEye 360 radio-frequency geolocation microsatellites were launched May 25. The satellites, launched aboard SpaceX Transporter-5 mission, were built by Space Flight Laboratory (SFL) of Toronto. Three SFL-built satellites for greenhouse gas monitoring were also launched.

The HawkEye 360 constellation detects and geolocates RF signals for maritime situational awareness, emergency response, national security and spectrum analysis applications.

Once Cluster 5’s on-orbit checkout is complete, the HawkEye 360 constellation will be expanded to 15 satellites, doubling capacity and revisit rates. This significantly boosts the constellation’s ability to serve global customer demand and to monitor activity across places such as Ukraine.

“Every enhanced satellite cluster we launch helps us deliver a higher density of valuable data to our government, commercial and humanitarian customers and partners – advancing our efforts to monitor global activities for a safer and more secure world,” said HawkEye 360 John Serafini. “Launch by launch, these space-based innovations are analyzing the knowns and uncovering the unknowns of the RF spectrum across the globe.”

Cluster 5 includes enhanced antenna functions introduced with Cluster 4, which allow greater flexibility in geolocating signals across a wide range of frequencies important to customers.

Cluster 4, launched April 1, has been completing checkout and moving into final formation to begin collecting data in late June. Cluster 5 is slated to achieve initial operating capability in August.

Cluster 4 on orbit. (Image: HawkEye 360)

Cluster 4 on orbit. (Image: HawkEye 360)

HawkEye 360 plans to continue to grow the constellation to achieve revisit rates of about 15 minutes to support timely defense, national security and commercial applications.

SFL has now developed 15 microsatellites for HawkEye 360 of Herndon, Virginia. SFL was selected for these missions due to the importance of formation flying by multiple satellites for successful RF geolocation.

Other missions developed by SFL in the past two years include 16 communications CubeSats and three microsatellites designed for Earth observation, maritime tracking and atmospheric monitoring.

In its 24-year history, SFL has developed cubesats, nanosatellites and microsatellites that have achieved more than 191 cumulative years of operation in orbit.

HawkEye 360 Cluster 5. (Photo: HawkEye 360)

HawkEye 360 Cluster 5. (Photo: HawkEye 360)

About the Author: Tracy Cozzens

Senior Editor Tracy Cozzens joined GPS World magazine in 2006. She also is editor of GPS World’s newsletters and the sister website Geospatial Solutions. She has worked in government, for non-profits, and in corporate communications, editing a variety of publications for audiences ranging from federal government contractors to teachers.