HawkEye 360, a radio frequency data analytics company, has launched its first cluster of three, formation-flying small satellites aboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket.
Now that Pathfinder satellites have reached orbit, they will begin to maneuver into position over the next several weeks.
The startup company said that the satellites will be able to identify and precisely geolocate a broad set of RF signals from emitters such as VHS push-to-talk radios, maritime radar systems, AIS beacons, VSAT terminals, and emergency beacons.
HawkEye 360 plans to use the data collected from the satellites to identify suspicious vessel activity and risk, such as pirate ships. It would also help survey how frequencies are used, detect communication interference, evaluate communication outages during disasters and help rescuers search for people in distress.
“The core of our business is RF analytics, which is dependent upon high-quality, geolocated RF data,” said Chris DeMay, CTO and founder, HawkEye 360.
“Each of these small satellites is equipped with a software-defined radio that can tune to different frequencies and pick up different RF signals. When we see the same signal from all three satellites, we triangulate it and figure out where the signal is coming from. We’ll continue growing our constellation to improve revisit rates with our next set of satellites already under development for launch later in 2019.”