Via Satellite’s has published its 10 Hottest satellite companies of 2022. The list highlights the “must watch” companies providing satellite communications, ground systems, manufacturing, imagery and sensing, and launch services. Via Satellite editors choose the companies on this list based on their expected activity for the year, and a mix of market share, transformational technology, ground-breaking deals, and overall industry excitement.

Seraphin are thrilled to have two of our portfolio companies recognised in the list.

AST SpaceMobile

AST SpaceMobile is taking a novel approach to satellite connectivity by designing a satellite to connect directly with unmodified cell phones. Instead of needing satellite-specific terminals or devices to use satellite broadband, AST SpaceMobile has designed its satellite BlueWalker 3 to communicate directly with unmodified mobile phones on Earth.

To make this a reality, AST SpaceMobile has formed partnerships with mobile network operators Rakuten and Vodafone to use the companies’ spectrum and function as a roaming service for their customers. This has potential for bridging the digital divide, as many people beyond the reach of cellular networks in the developing world have cell phones, but lack the service to use them.

The company went public in April 2021 to give the company the capital to bring its services to market more quickly. But it won’t necessarily be an easy road. BlueWalker 3 is a nearly 700-square-foot phased array that will be one of the largest ever deployed to Low-Earth Orbit (LEO). The company has been tight-lipped about the satellite and some in the satellite industry have doubts that the array will unfurl correctly in space, or that the technology will work as promised.

AST SpaceMobile is targeting summer 2022 for its launch, contingent on SpaceX for the final launch window, after it pushed back its target by a few months. While its technology is unproven, AST SpaceMobile has potential to disrupt space-based communications. All eyes are on the company for this key launch in 2022, if it will validate its space-to-cell technology and business model.

HawkEye 360

HawkEye 360’s strategic focus on providing data to the government sector has paid off and it is uniquely positioned to dominate a growing field of space-based radio frequency (RF) analytics. The Northern Virginia-based company is coming off what it claims to be a lucrative fiscal year in 2021. HawkEye says that its newly launched next-generation satellites have enabled the company to secure more than $50 million in new contracts since the start of last year.

HawkEye 360 operates a constellation of nine satellites that identify, locate and analyze RF transmissions around the globe from a variety of emitters. The company is about to begin an action-packed 18-month schedule of new satellite launches that will significantly increase the size of its fleet.

The company shows no signs of slowing down as it comes into a new year. In January, it grabbed a $5 million investment from Leidos to improve its capabilities in national security space. In return, Leidos will have access to a vast commercial RF data archive. These funds will be added to HawkEye’s $200 million investment chest it has filled from various investors that are pitching in to help grow its data and analytic services.

Unlike HawkEye’s peers in the imagery and sensing area that are raising funds by going public and merging with SPACS, HawkEye is raising money without the help of Wall Street and it doesn’t look like any of its investors are looking for an exit ramp.

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