STRATCOM Aims to Make TacSat-3 More Responsive

US Strategic Command has created a rapid-exploitation cell to increase the speed with which Tactical Satellite 3 imagery is processed and its products are passed on to the warfighter. On June 18, Tac-Sat-3 transitioned from being an Air Force-led on-orbit experiment to an operational asset under STRATCOM. The mini satellite’s primary payload is a Raytheon-built hyperspectral sensor called Artemis. With the dedicated exploitation cell, Artemis is expected to provide 300 imagery products per month, with turnaround times of a few days or less, according to Lt. Col. Ryan Pendleton, chief of operationally responsive space integration for Air Force Space Command. During TacSat-3’s experiment phase, there were only about 25 exploited Artemis images per month, with delivery times of weeks, he said. “This new capability will provide an unprecedented amount of spectral data to the warfighter on [intelligence-surveillance-reconnaissance] targets worldwide,” he said. (Peterson release)