Reston, VA

A mini-satellite by a Herndon startup is getting special attention from the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum.

HawkEye360, a data-analytics company that launched in 2015, will partner with the museum in an upcoming exhibit. The company uses satellites to gather data from across the world, the company’s chief operating officer Rob Rainhart told Reston Now.

The group was approached by the Smithsonian representatives after learning about the HawkEye360’s new Pathfinder satellite, which Rainhart said is leading the industry when it comes to small satellite data collection. Pathfinder was officially launched in December 2018 and uses geo-location to collect data.

HawkEye360 has already built the lifesize model and handed it off to the Smithsonian, Rainhart said, adding that he is excited for the company’s work to be included at a permanent exhibition at the museum.

Patrons will be able to visit the exhibit which includes the “microwaved size” model, sometime starting in 2025, according to the press release.

HawyEye360 was partially chosen to be included in the Smithsonian’s new exhibit because of the company’s effort to be a leader in refining the”space 2.0″ revolution, Rainhart said. Currently, the company has three satellites orbiting the earth — all pulling the data that served roughly several dozen customers in both the private and public sectors.

Scientists and engineers at the company use a unique class of radio frequency data to learn about the world, a press release said. Rainhart added that this is what helps to set the company apart from competitors — along with the new data sets that the company brings to the market.

“It’s a really innovative, high-tech startup that’s growing really fast,” Rainhart said. He says that the company also helps to monitor things like illegal fishing or maritime activity, as well as things like providing a visual view of an area after natural disasters.

Going forward, the company wants to launch 18 satellites and are on track to launch three more in September.

With roughly 60 employees, Rainhart said that the company hopes to grow and continue working with clients across the globe.

Photo courtesy HawkEye360

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The partial federal government shutdown is nearing the two-week mark with no immediate end in sight.

Parts of the federal government shut down on Saturday, Dec. 22, after Congress and the White House failed to reach a spending deal. It remains unclear if or when the White House and congressional Democrats could negotiate a deal as President Donald Trump keeps a firm stand for $5 billion to pay for a border wall.

Yesterday (Jan. 2), Smithsonian museums and the National Zoo closed, joining National Parks around the country, according to news reports. Even though people got very concerned very quickly after the zoo’s beloved live “panda cam” went dark, the pandas and other animals will continue to get fed.

One place not affected by the shutdown — the Newseum — is offering federal workers who show their badge free admission.

Trump’s third government shutdown is impacting locals and visitors in the Washington, D.C.-area from furloughed federal workers to surprised tourists. (The longest government shutdown was 21 days during Bill Clinton’s presidency, in case you were curious.)

Now, on day 13, let us know if your work or D.C. plans have been affected by the shutdown.

File photo

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Udvar-Hazy Center near Dulles Airport/Credit: Smithsonian

Visitors to the Smithsonian’s Stephen F. Udvar-Hazy Center near Dulles Airport now have a public transportation option: taking the Metro.

After the Silver Line opens on July 26, Fairfax County Connector Route 983 will run every 20 minutes from the Wiehle-Reston East Station to the Udvar-Hazy Center.

That means Air and Space enthusiasts will be linked to both museums by public transportation. The Silver Line stop closest to the museum’s Washington location is L’Enfant Plaza, two blocks from its Independence Avenue entrance.

“Bridging the 28-mile distance between our two buildings will help us serve more people,” J.R. “Jack” Dailey, director of the museum, said in a release. “Those who depend on public transportation, including many tourists, will now be able to experience the full breadth and scope of our collection, spanning more than a century of flight. We are grateful to Fairfax County for helping to make this service possible.”

This is also good news for local residents. While admission to the Smithsonian’s museums is free, parking at the Udvar-Hazy Center is $15. Taking the bus from Wiehle-Reston East will save money.

Route 983 will also stop at the Reston Town Center Transit Station, Herndon-Monroe and Dulles International Airport. See more details on the Fairfax Connector website.

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