New satellite system could make Canadian soldiers safer abroad

The Department of National Defence will soon be able to monitor Earth in minute detail, from detecting an improvised explosive device buried in Afghanistan to determining if a ship has illegally entered the Arctic.That's just a sampling of what the government-owned RADARSAT Constellation Mission satellite system can do.The trio of identical satellites was launched in June and will orbit the earth every 96 minutes. The satellites will allow DND to look at almost any part of the earth every 24 hours."No matter where we're deploying we're able to take imagery of a location before we even get people on the ground," said Maj. Konrad Eyvindson, director of the Polar Epsilon 2 Project, which is DND's contribution to the mission.Clouds and smoke no obstacleThe advanced radar isn't obscured by clouds and smoke.Being able to perform such reconnaissance is a huge asset to the military, especially when it may be deploying troops in hostile territory."Space-based radar technology on [RADARSAT Constellation Mission] is particularly interesting because of the nature of the sensor," said Eyvindson. "It allows us to detect minute changes on the Earth, such as someone digging and placing an explosive device."   The new satellite system will help the Department of National Defence figure out potential dangers soldiers may face before they go on a mission. In this image, a Canadian Armed Forces member provides security as medics assist German troops during a medical evacuation demonstration in Mali last year. (Adrian Wyld/Canadian Press)The $1.2-billion satellite system was launched June 12 in California. It is expected to start feeding back operational data to DND this fall. Once that information starts coming in, the military can choose to monitor an area from space over a long period of time. According to Eyvindson, that will allow the military to determine the normal routines for people in an area.DND could study ground and boat traffic, for example."What kind of activities are they up to? Because then we can understand, before we even get to the location, what's a normal activity and what's abnormal, because those abnormal activities are kind of what's dangerous to us," said Eyvindson. "By knowing what we're going into, it allows us to be more safe in the way that we approach those foreign deployments." Maj. Konrad Eyvindson is director for the Polar Epsilon II Project, which is DND’s contribution to the constellation mission. (Department of National Defence)In Canada, the new satellite system can be used to watch over the country's shoreline, and help enforce ...Read more

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