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How HawkEye 360 Enhanced Its Geospatial Insights with Xiphos' Q-Cards

Power and durability are essential requirements in Geospatial Insights, where precision meets the vastness of space. However, new space innovators have often been frustrated by processing solutions that lack the capability and resilience to match their vision. One such innovator is HawkEye 360, an RF data analytics company that delivers spectrum mapping and monitoring from space.

HawkEye 360 previously faced constraints with existing processing solutions. In search of a system that could match their product development ambitions, they turned to Xiphos. Xiphos’ robust Q-card processors have played a crucial role in advancing HawkEye 360’s satellite capabilities, paving the way for new advancements in RF data analytics.

The Ask

HawkEye 360 sought more advanced solutions that provided robust processing, higher levels of accuracy, and allowed for input from their team of professionals. They needed high-performance logic and general-purpose computing to support their satellite clusters' intricate RF signal detection and ensure long-term operational reliability.

In pursuit of excellence, HawkEye 360 sought not just a product but a partnership — one that would herald the next wave of Geospatial technology.

High Processing Power

Due to the nature of its satellite clusters, which detect RF signals from space and deliver that information to customers, HawkEye 360 needed high-performing logic and general-purpose computing that could meet its rigorous processing requirements. This combination was required to enable HawkEye 360 to develop next-generation Software Defined Radio (SDR) based payloads.

Demanding Conditions

HawkEye 360 was looking for a robust solution that would hold up in the most demanding space conditions and meet tight constraints in size, weight, and power consumption.

Partnership at the Forefront

HawkEye 360 has positioned itself as a risk-taker in the field of GEOINT. As such, it sought a highly synergistic partnership that would enable its own next-gen technology—and lead to further innovations down the road. The product HawkEye 360 chose to build its SDR around would have to come with high support and customization.

"As Vice President of Space Engineering at HawkEye 360, my experience with Xiphos and its Q-card processor has been exceptionally positive. The upgraded technology and affordability of the Q-card have significantly enhanced our satellite payload capabilities, providing reliable and efficient performance. Our collaborative development with Xiphos, a well-recognized name in the space industry, ensured a product tailored to our specific needs, marking a strong and enduring partnership."

— Lorin Metzger, Vice President of Space Engineering, HawkEye 360


Ultimately, HawkEye 360 chose Xiphos' Q8 miniature processing board as the product to help it achieve enhanced satellite capabilities. This board offered unparalleled features and stood out for its robustness, efficiency, processing capabilities, and radiation-resistant design. Working with Xiphos to influence the design of its Q8 Q-card, which was under development then, HawkEye 360 ensured that the processing board aligned with all project needs: low-SWaP with advanced processing capabilities and proven space resilience.
Xiphos - Q8 B - photo

The Q8 Q-card also came well-supported, and HawkEye 360’s long-standing relationship with Xiphos allowed for an ongoing developmental process that would benefit both parties. This well-established partnership facilitated effective communication and problem-solving throughout the implementation process. By providing input into the design of the Q8, HawkEye 360 ensured that the processing board would seamlessly integrate into their systems, offering optimized performance and reliability.

Specifically, switching to the Q8 helped HawkEye to achieve greater flexibility, reliability, and overall performance—capabilities its previous solution had lacked. Hawkeye 360 was also eager to provide input for the design of Xiphos' next Q-Card, the Q8J, which HawkEye 360 now leverages for its enhanced I/O performance and capability to provide even wider bandwidth SDR solutions.


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Superior Performance

Compared with HawkEye 360’s previous technology, the Q8 and Q8J processing cards have demonstrated superior performance - a key factor accelerating HawkEye 360’s innovations.

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24 Q-card-powered Satellites in Orbit

HawkEye 360 currently has 24 Q-card-powered satellites in orbit. Xiphos’ Q-cards have proven so successful that HawkEye 360 recently launched six new satellites, Clusters 8 & 9, each powered by Xiphos’ Q8 and Q8J cards, as part of the April 2024 SpaceX Bandwagon-1 mission. 

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Beyond Processing: A Legacy of Innovation

Xiphos’ Q-cards use high-speed interfaces for greater bandwidth and enhanced processing. Due to these improvements, HawkEye 360 was able to upgrade its onboard processing capabilities, leading to faster, more efficient data processing—which translates to faster data delivery and more in-depth analysis for its customers. To take those capabilities even further, Xiphos and HawkEye 360 are collaborating on the Q8RF: an 8 Receive channel, 8 Transmit channel RF processor that will allow for an unprecedented level of RF monitoring using less hardware than ever.

Hawkeye 360 satellites with Xiphos' Q-cards inside



HawkEye 360 is widely recognized as a leader in the GEOINT industry and paves the way for the next generation of satellite technology. Xiphos’ Q-card solutions have empowered HawkEye 360 to offer in-flight capabilities supporting the future of RF monitoring and satellite technology.

Ultimately, Xiphos' efforts resulted in delivering a highly valuable product that met HawkEye 360’s requirements and expectations. Operating at the leading edge of satellite processing, HawkEye 360 and Xiphos leveraged their long-standing partnership to build a successful product that will continue to evolve ahead of the industry, delivering ever-greater processing capabilities to HawkEye360’s customers.

About Xiphos

We develop cutting-edge computing solutions tailored for extreme space environments. Leveraging automotive and industrial-grade components in a fault-tolerant architecture, we provide robust performance costing a fraction of traditional space solutions. By prioritizing compactness, energy efficiency, flexibility, and high performance, Xiphos offers effective alternatives to traditional flight processors for spacecraft, unmanned vehicles, robotics, and many other platforms.

About HawkEye 360

HawkEye 360 is a defense technology leader providing ubiquitous knowledge of human activity, behavior, and situational trends derived from revolutionary radio frequency (RF) geospatial insights. The company’s innovative space-based technology was developed to detect, characterize, and geolocate RF signals. These RF data and analytics provide an information advantage, allowing analysts to detect the first glimpse of suspicious behavior, trace the first sign of enemy activity, and reveal the first sighting of ships attempting to vanish. HawkEye 360’s RF data and analytics present a quicker grasp of critical events and patterns of life, providing early warnings to drive tip-and-cue efforts and providing global leaders the insights needed to make decisions confidently. HawkEye 360 is headquartered in Herndon, Virginia.