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Video: Raytheon wins contract to design new mini spy satellites

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency has awarded a $1.5 million contract to Raytheon Company under the agency’s SeeMe satellite program. SeeMe stands for Space Enabled Effects for Military Engagements. During the next nine months, Raytheon will complete the design for small SeeMe satellites that will enhance warfighter situational awareness on the battlefield.

The program seeks to develop a constellation of small “disposable” satellites, at a fraction of the cost of airborne systems, enabling deployed warfighters overseas to hit ‘see me’ on existing handheld devices to receive a satellite image of their precise location within 90 minutes. The SeeMe constellation may consist of some two-dozen satellites, each lasting 60-90 days in a very low-earth orbit before de-orbiting and completely burning up, leaving no space debris and causing no re-entry hazard.

"We can mass produce these small, lightweight satellites quickly and affordably," said Tom Bussing, Raytheon Missile Systems' vice president of Advanced Missile Systems.

For this contract, Raytheon has teamed with Sierra Nevada Corp., University of Arizona and SRI International to assist with design work and eventually production. Next year, in phase two of the SeeMe program, the Raytheon team would build six satellites for ground testing.

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