LeoLabs Secures New Capital to Help US Track Adversary Space Debris and Satellite Launches


The number of objects in space has increased dramatically over the past thirty years, and much of this is due to commercial companies launching new business cases and discovering cheaper ways to access space .

But that doesn’t mean there haven’t been growing pains, like increased congestion in orbit. For commercial satellite operators, the biggest concern is usually collision with another object; for the US Space Force, it’s about ensuring that US defense and its allies know where things are in space, what they do and who put them there.

For most of the time we have sent objects into space, monitoring and characterization of objects has taken place under the auspices of the Department of Defense. But many companies have emerged to realize the commercial potential of providing critical intelligence about objects in orbit.

One of these companies is LéoLabs. The nine-year-old startup has built a 10-site radar network spanning both hemispheres to collect data on more than 20,000 objects in low Earth orbit, along with a suite of products ranging from simple precision tracking to timely alerts real if your satellite risks a collision.

The company started the year strong, cash in a new contract from NOAA’s Office of Space Commerce that will help inform the agency’s important Space Traffic Coordination System initiative. Building on this momentum, LeoLabs announced today that it has completed a $29 million expansion to its $65 million, Series B which closed its doors in summer 2021.

LeoLabs has raised new capital to fund the growth of AI technology, which makes sense because its ideas are the company’s livelihood. Defense customers integrate this information into command operations, while commercial operators use this information to inform mission planning and spaceflight safety analysis.

“We have already applied AI models to detect in-orbit maneuvers in real time, categorize objects, characterize ‘unknown’ objects, and analyze life patterns of recently launched objects,” said founder and CEO Dan Ceperley at TechCrunch. “As the number of objects and activities in LEO continues to grow, it becomes increasingly difficult for operators to keep pace. The tools we develop will help the industry leverage automation and advanced analytics to keep pace with this rapid growth.

He said the new investment would also fuel the development of new radar technologies that will be able to cover even smaller orbital debris, as well as track “non-cooperative” launch activities in very low Earth orbit. This last item is of particular interest to the US Space Force, as it refers to launches that are not coordinated with the US or its allies – such as China, which notoriously keeps its space activities close to its chest.

The round, which LeoLabs said was oversubscribed, was led by GP Bullhound, with participation from new investors 1941 and Dolby Family Ventures. It was also backed by existing investors including Insight Partners, Velvet Sea Ventures, Space Capital and AngelList Syndicate led by Dylan Taylor.


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