ARTEMIS - Hyperspectral Launch


ARTEMIS - TacSat3 Launch icon

TacSat3 Launch
May 19, 2009
Video credit: NASA


Flexible, affordable and rapidly deployed, ARTEMIS brings new tactical space surveillance capabilities to field commanders. Designed and built in fewer than 15 months as a rapid development project for the Operationally Responsive Space Office, ARTEMIS is the first hyperspectral imaging sensor to serve tactical military purposes from space.

Light captured across a broad swath of the electromagnetic spectrum enables the sensor to detect areas of disturbed earth, indicating possible placement of an explosive device, and penetrate foliage and camouflage to better track enemy movement. Information about normally undetectable activities, objects and substances gives military commanders an important new advantage in the asymmetric battlefield. Hyperspectral sensors also can be designed to characterize effluents such as smoke plumes according to their chemical composition.

During a year-long experimental mission that began in May 2009 aboard TacSat-3, the U. S. Air Force Research Laboratory demonstrated the tactical utility of the sensor, highlighted by its ability to download actionable information directly to troops within 10 minutes of tasking. In its first month, Raytheon’s Advanced Responsive Tactically Effective Military Imaging Spectrometer showed it could collect and process imagery and download a tactical product during a single 10-minute pass.

Expert analysis by ground personnel is not necessary for data generated by ARTEMIS. The sensor’s built-in processors deliver tactically useful information directly to troops in the field. The Air Force Space Command assumed control of the sensor in May 2010.

Raytheon leads the aerospace industry in the development of responsive-space solutions, permitting deployment of assets beyond the atmosphere much more swiftly and cost effectively than previously possible. The company is developing advanced hyperspectral imaging technology that will take advantage of wide field-of-view focal planes, alternative spectral bands, and enhanced processing capabilities. Other Raytheon satellite systems track weather patterns, monitor climate change, and support national security objectives. 

TacSat-3 completed operations on 15 February 2012.


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