The goal of this programme is to provide needed on-demand imagery directly to the warfighter in the field from a very-low-cost satellite constellation in a timely manner. Such a programme will fill current gaps in critical information prior to, during and after military engagements.
There are obvious significant advantages in closing this information gap with persistent coverage and on-demand delivery in terms of driving up mission success probability and reducing personnel risk.
If successful, the SeeMe programme will provide reliable and persistent information by using small, short-lived, very-low-cost satellites at very low altitudes, integrated into existing communications systems and handheld platforms.
The challenge here is to provide full constellation coverage over a selected latitude band at a cost that is only a fraction of current airborne costs. This roughly translates into a satellite unit cost of no more than USD 500,000, exclusive of launch and ground operations.
Today, the warfighter in the field is unable to obtain on-demand satellite imagery in a timely manner due to unavailability of satellite over-flight opportunities, lack of information distribution channels, prioritization conflicts, and/or classification restrictions. The BAA pointed out: “At the same time, insurgents that operate against US warfighters worldwide have the ability to utilize commercial imagery services to obtain information, effectively providing them with an asymmetric advantage.”
Source: “Space Daily”;http://www.spacedaily.com/reports/DARPA_SeeMe_Program_Has_Arrived_999.html