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Los Alamos National Laboratory Research Quarterly, Fall 2002
Defense Transformations
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Versatile Explosives
Defense Transformation
A Modular Neutron Detector

Vision of Future Response to Global Threats

Illustration of minisatelites in low orbit
A constellation of rapidly launched minisatellites in low-Earth orbit provides continual surveillance of an area of conflict. Each satellite provides wide-area sensing and detection, local imaging and precise target identification, onboard data processing, and communication with one another as well as with unmanned aerial vehicles and command headquarters in the United States. As pictured here, the first satellite forwards information on potential activity from its wide-area surveillance to a second satellite, which identifies tank movement in its narrower field of view and directs an unmanned aerial vehicle to fire on the tanks; the third satellite then assesses the resulting damage. The elapsed time from wide-area sensing to damage assessment is only ten minutes. Such rapid response will draw on the Lab's R&D work on sophisticated imaging and visual-analysis systems, advanced data-processing techniques, and secure communication technologies.


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