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Sunday, May 26, 2013

The United States Special Forces getting constellation of mini surveillance satellites to hunt down 'people considered to be dangerous'

night-raid
© USAF
A U.S. soldier participates in a night-raid training mission during Emerald Warrior 2012, an exercise put together by U.S. Special Operations Command.
In September, the U.S. government will fire into orbit a two-stage rocket from a Virginia launchpad. Officially, the mission is a scientific one, designed to improve America's ability to send small satellites into space quickly and cheaply. But the launch will also have a second purpose: to help the elite forces of U.S. Special Operations Command hunt down people considered to be dangerous to the United States and its interests. 

For years, special operators have used tiny "tags" to clandestinely mark their prey - and satellites to relay information from those beacons. But there are areas of the world where the satellite coverage is thin, and there aren't enough cell towers to provide an alternative. That's why SOCOM is putting eight miniature communications satellites, each about the size of a water jug, on top of the Minotaur rocket that's getting ready to launch from Wallops Island, Virginia. They'll sit more than 300 miles above the earth and provide a new way for the beacons to call back to their masters. 

Read the full article on Wired.
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