Search for bin Laden extends to Earth orbit
October 9, 2001 | Source: USA Today
U.S. military spy satellites are searching aggressively for signs of Osama bin Laden and are providing military planners with near-real-time, high-resolution photographs and data about specific regions of Afghanistan, officials say.
Soldiers for the first time can view spy satellite ground photos in near-real time, using the Broadcast Request Imagery Technology Experiment, or BRITE.
The compact system can be carried into the field and operated with a laptop computer. Military units equipped with the system can radio ground coordinates to controllers of satellites. The controllers aim the satellites at the requested target and transmit high-resolution satellite pictures to the ground troops. This allows a unit to view a region, such as a suspected terrorist training camp on the other side of a mountain, in near-real time and make more precise tactical decisions. Officials say the system is ideally suited for a clandestine war on terrorism.
Spy satellite coverage can be conducted 24 hours with a resolution of as small as 4 inches across.