LeoLabs Closes Funding Round, Unveils Space Debris Radar
LeoLabs has announced closing a $4 million investment round. A consortium of global investors, including SRI International, Horizons Ventures, and Airbus Ventures, is backing the funding. With this funding, LeoLabs is accelerating its cloud-based debris and satellite tracking service, expanding its ground-based radar infrastructure, and supporting engagements with commercial and governmental customers.
“What we are witnessing is the birth of the Low-Earth Orbit (LEO) ecosystem and the rise of a LEO economy, ranging from real time imaging to communications to space tourism,” said Dan Ceperley, chief executive officer of LeoLabs. “Our vision is to help secure responsible and safe operations for cubesat, small, and traditional satellite operators, as well as the upcoming network of mega-constellations.”
Concurrent with this announcement, LeoLabs has reported completion of the next addition to its network of phased-array radars. The Midland Space Radar (MSR), located in Texas, is now operational and providing high-resolution orbital data on LEO-based satellites and debris.
According to LeoLabs, keeping pace with the sheer number of satellites and debris orbiting in LEO requires frequent observations. “This is precisely the benefit of an additional dedicated radar site such as our MSR. With the MSR, not only do we increase our coverage, we add thousands of additional observations to our LEO data set,” said Mike Nicolls, founder and chief technology officer of LeoLabs.
Currently, LeoLabs provides services that include initial orbit determination and collision avoidance. The primary market for these services is commercial satellite operators in LEO, as well as government agencies and satellite management service firms.
Construction of the MSR began six months ago. In September 2016, LeoLabs inked agreements with the Midland City Council and Midland Development Corporation to locate in Texas and promote the new MSR facility.