Space Flight Laboratory (SFL) has announced that HawkEye 360 has initiated manufacturing of the 12th and 13th Clusters of the company’s radio frequency (RF) geolocating, smallsat constellation — the six satellites are being built on SFL’s 30 kg DEFIANT platform at the HawkEye 360 facility in Virginia under the SFL Flex Production program.
In April of 2023, the organizations celebrated the launch and deployment of Cluster 7, the first three satellites integrated in-house by HawkEye 360 as part of the production plan created by SFL. Flex Production gives SFL clients the option of having satellites built at SFL’s Toronto headquarters or setting up in-house production capabilities at their own facilities, with guidance from SFL.
HawkEye 360 selected SFL for these missions due robust and accurate formation flying by multiple satellites for successful RF geolocation. SFL is an acknowledged leader in developing and implementing high-performance attitude and formation control systems that make it possible for relatively low-cost smallsats to fly in stable formations while in orbit.
HawkEye 360’s constellation detects and geolocates RF signals for maritime situational awareness, emergency response, national security, and spectrum analysis applications. Each new cluster expands HawkEye 360’s global revisit and collection capacity.
SFL’s 25-year heritage includes 65 operational successes, with an additional 27 under development or awaiting launch. Customized payloads include a wide range of applications related to Earth observation, atmospheric monitoring, ship tracking, communication, radio frequency (RF) geolocation, technology demonstration, space astronomy, solar physics, space plasma, and other scientific research.
Throughout its history, SFL has developed small satellites, microsatellites, and nanosatellites that have achieved more than 240+ cumulative years of operation in orbit. These microspace missions have included SFL’s trusted attitude control and, in some cases, formation-flying capabilities. Other core SFL-developed components include modular (scalable) power systems, onboard radios, flight computers, and control software.
“HawkEye 360 has emerged as a worldwide leader in NewSpace, and SFL is proud to be their microspace satellite technology provider. Our Flex Production program enables any NewSpace organization to mass produce satellites at a price point that works for them.”
— Dr. Robert E. Zee, SFL Director
“Clusters 12 and 13 continue our long-standing relationship with Space Flight Laboratory. Dr. Zee and his team have been excellent technology partners, providing us the means to build reliable satellite buses with proven heritage. We’ve enjoyed being early customers for their FLEX program.”
— Rob Rainhart, COO, HawkEye 360
About Space Flight Laboratory
SFL generates bigger returns from smaller, lower cost satellites. Small satellites built by SFL consistently push the performance envelope and disrupt the traditional cost paradigm. Satellites are built with advanced power systems, stringent attitude control and high-volume data capacity that are striking relative to the budget. SFL arranges launches globally and maintains a mission control center accessing ground stations worldwide. The pioneering and barrier-breaking work of SFL is a key enabler to tomorrow’s cost-aggressive satellites and constellations.