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Allied Minds Forming Space Signaling Company

Small satellites

Small satellites in low-earth orbit (NASA.gov)

17 September 2015. Allied Minds, a research commercialization company in Boston, is forming a new enterprise harnessing space satellites to detect wireless signals from earth for maritime, emergency, and commercial applications. The company, HawkEye 360 Inc., is licensing research on radio-frequency communications from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, designed initially for U.S. defense and intelligence collection systems.

HawkEye 360 plans to use space satellites in low-earth orbit to read and analyze radio-frequency signals from earth in real time to track maritime traffic for logistics networks and emergency responses. That same technology, says the company, can also be applied to ground transportation and commercial air traffic. The data will be collected and analyzed further to help clients with transportation planning.

Allied Minds acts as a holding company for science and technology-based start-ups. The company forms new businesses based on research conducted in the U.S. at university and federally sponsored labs. Allied Minds then provides funding and management for the new enterprises through their initial stages. The company says it has relationships with 34 universities and 34 labs and research centers affiliated with the U.S. defense and energy departments.

For HawkEye 360, Allied Minds is licensing the research of engineering professors Charles Clancy and Robert McGwier at Virginia Tech, in Blacksburg, one of its affiliated institutions. Clancy is director of Virginia Tech’s Hume Center for National Security and Technology, where McGwier is a research professor. The center’s focus includes studies of signals intelligence covering work in electromagnetics, antennas, RF engineering, digital signal processing, and digital communications.

Clancy and McGwier are co-founders of HawkEye 360, with Christopher DeMay, who until recently directed non-traditional signals intelligence operations for the National Reconnaissance Office, part of Department of Defense. DeMay is joining the company as its chief operating officer. John Serafini, a vice-president at Allied Minds, is serving as the company’s CEO.

“Space-based detection of RF signals allows us to accurately locate and characterize difficult-to-visualize spectrum information in a way that’s both global and timely,” says Serafini in a company statement. “You can’t do that terrestrially, and you can’t do that with photos.”

HawkEye 360 is officially starting out as a subsidiary of Allied Minds. With Hawkeye 360, Allied Minds now has 23 subsidiaries.

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