Business

HFX Raises Funds for Ukrainian Dedicated Satellite Constellation

The Halifax International Security Forum (HFX), a DC nonprofit focused on strategic cooperation between democracies, has launched the Ukraine Victory Fund. The initiative, which was requested by Kyiv, aims to raise $10M to fund a dedicated satellite constellation (DSC) with Satellogic.

“What happens in Ukraine is going to affect all of us,” HFX president Peter Van Praagh told Payload. “And all of us have to do what we can to help Ukraine win.”

Imaging Ukraine: When Russia first invaded Ukraine, prominent Ukrainian entrepreneur and investor Max Polyakov pleaded with the West to share satellite imagery with Ukraine. Ukraine Minister of Digital Transformation Mykhailo Fedorov amplified that call soon after, asking satellite operators to share imagery and aid the war effort.

Since then, the space industry has risen to the challenge. Orbital imagery has been an invaluable source of intelligence for tracking and revealing Russian troop movements, bombed-out buildings, mass graves, and humanitarian/evacuation routes across the country. EO companies, including Maxar, Planet, MDA, and Satellogic, have been providing satellite imagery to Ukraine, allies, and humanitarian groups at no cost. 

Still, Ukraine’s on-orbit capabilities are incomplete. The government doesn’t operate its own orbital assets, so commercial providers—and their government customers buying and directing it—are in the driver’s seat.

Time to change drivers

“The most important thing is that it’s the Ukrainians who are pointing the camera and seeing what they want to see,” Van Praagh said. “If this is a fight for Ukrainian sovereignty, as a free country, I don’t see how other companies or other governments should be telling Ukraine what it is that Ukraine should want to be seeing.”

Satellogic’s DSC service, which allows users to operate their own fleet of satellites over a specific region, is catered to Fortune 500s and governments. As part of its partnership with HFX, Satellogic has agreed to provide Ukraine the capability for $10M, which is a sizable discount.

Victory fundraising

HFX aims to raise the full $10M to deliver DSC service to Ukraine. As a nonprofit, Van Praagh said, HFX typically only raises money to support its own projects. This is the first time it’s raising for a third party.

  • HFX is tapping its own network, but also cold-calling and seeking out donations from wherever it can find them.
  • So far, HFX has raised ~$100,000. 

HFX is actively seeking donations for the fund and encourages anyone interested to reach out.

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