First Listed Space Technology Fund Co-Leads D-Series Investment
Seraphim Space Investment Trust plc has made a new $25 million (€21.6 million) investment in Virginia-based HawkEye360. The startup, which was founded in 2015 and launched its first spacecraft three years later, operates small satellites capable of geolocating RF emitters and produces analytical products by fusing these data with other information sources and applying proprietary algorithms. It presently has nine satellites in orbit, and plans to launch a further 21, though is licensed to grow its constellation to 80 spacecraft.
Seraphim Space has investments in 18 space technology companies and agreements to invest in a further two by year-end. The fund was listed on the London Stock Exchange in July. It describes itself as “the world’s first listed fund focused on” space technologies, and says it seeks out investment opportunities in businesses “that have the potential to dominate globally“.
HawkEye360’s system has a number of potential uses, but a key mission is maritime reconnaissance. Its satellites collect RF emissions from ship navigation systems and can identify true positions, which may not be available via other means – for instance, if a vessel’s AIS [automatic identification system] transponder is disabled or malfunctioning, if the AIS is being spoofed, or in crowded areas around ports where multiple simultaneous signals can limit the effectiveness and utility of AIS tracking.
“In order to police the illegal activities of the vast ocean, the world needs – but does not yet have – timely, consistent, and actionable intelligence on illicit vessel behaviours across the globe,” explained Will Whitehorn, Seraphim Space’s chair. “HawkEye 360 provides a unique source of information to augment national security operations, maritime domain awareness, environmental protection, and many additional applications. It is a compelling addition to our portfolio.”