Raytheon has delivered the first SeeMe satellite (Space Enabled Effects for Military Engagements) to U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA).
Assembled on the company’s advanced missile production lines, the new SeeMe satellite will provide greater situational awareness to soldiers on the ground.
DARPA’s SeeMe program is designed to show that small satellites can be built affordably to give small squads timely tactical imagery directly from a small satellite. A future constellation of small satellites would deliver high-resolution images of precise locations of interest to the soldier’s handheld device.
“Ground troops can’t always get immediate access to the larger, military and commercial satellites,” said Dr. Thomas Bussing, Raytheon Advanced Missile Systems vice president. “These smaller, SeeMe satellites will be dedicated to soldiers, providing them with real-time images from space when they’re needed most.”
Using its automated missile production lines, Raytheon can build large numbers of these highly reliable, small satellites quickly and affordably.
DARPA will integrate the Raytheon-built SeeMe satellite onto a Spaceflight Industries payload that will be launched into low-earth orbit on a SpaceX rocket later this year. Military users will have an opportunity to evaluate the satellite’s performance during missions in early 2019.
Eventually, a SeeMe constellation may comprise several types of small satellites, each lasting one to five years before de-orbiting and burning up, leaving no space debris and causing no re-entry hazard.