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HawkEye 360 Clusters 8 and 9 Launched on SpaceX Bandwagon-1 Rideshare Mission

By Abbey Weltman | April 8, 2024

      HawkEye 360 Cluster 9 in the Space Flight Laboratory (SFL) cleanroom being readied.

      SpaceX launched six radio frequency geolocation micro satellites developed for HawkEye 360. Space Flight Laboratory (SFL) confirmed the satellites have successfully communicated with ground control. The HawkEye 360 Cluster 8 and 9 satellites were launched on April 7, from Florida, aboard the Falcon 9 Rocket for SpaceX’s first Bandwagon-1 Rideshare.

      Including the new pair of three-satellite clusters, SFL developed a total of 27 geolocation micro satellites for HawkEye 360. Cluster 8 was integrated at its plant in Virginia under SFL’s Flex Production Program. Cluster 9, which includes updated payload and platform features, completed development, integration, and testing, at its Toronto facility.

      HawkEye 360 selected SFL for accurate RF signal geolocation in attitude control and formation flying by multiple spacecraft. 

      “SFL is proud to play a key role in the development of HawkEye 360’s space assets as it continues to expand and enhance its unparalleled space-based RF data detection and analytics capabilities,” said SFL Director Dr. Robert E. Zee.

      SFL built the HawkEye 360 Pathfinder satellites on its 15-kg NEMO platform. All clusters have been developed on the larger 30-kg SFL DEFIANT bus. Clusters 8 and 9 were launched in mid-inclination orbits to increase coverage over the busiest maritime traffic corridors at mid-latitudes, including the Indo-Pacific region, according to HawkEye 360.

      Cluster 8 and 9 were two of the 11 satellites launched on the Bandwagon-1 Rideshare. 

      SpaceX also launched the Centauri-6 satellite on the Bandwagon-1 mission from Fleet Space Technologies. The Australian space exploration company said the addition of Centauri-6 to the constellation will enable the expansion of the company’s end-to-end mineral exploration solution, ExoSphere. 

      This comes a month after SpaceX launched 53 payloads in its Transporter-10 Rideshare mission in March.