Spy Satellite Tech Now Cheaper Than Ever

First of new line of cheap, high-resolution imaging satellites which may soon aim their cameras at your backyard.

First of new line of cheap, high-resolution imaging satellites which may soon aim their cameras at your backyard.

Spy Satellite Tech Now Cheaper Than Ever

This July, a scheduled rocket launch served as the cover for the secret deployment of the Carbonite-1, a new low-cost imaging satellite. Using off-the-shelf cameras and telescopes, the Carbonite-1 is designed to orbit the Earth at a distance of 500km, capturing stunning images of the planet at 1-meter ground resolution. The satellite’s manufacturer, SSTL, envisions a web of cheap Carbonite satellites orbiting the globe but does this bold vision of the future spell an end to our terrestrial privacy rights?

Traditional satellites cost tens of millions, sometimes up to $1 billion to build and launch. SSTL believes it can produce Carbonite imaging satellites for as low as $1.5 million, making this technology much more accessible to those who may wish to keep a close eye on us.

The TripleSat Constellation trio of satellites in the SSTL cleanroom in Guildford, U.K.

The TripleSat Constellation trio of satellites in the SSTL cleanroom in Guildford, U.K.

The Carbonite-1 was hidden on a rocket for its launch. It sat among three traditional imaging satellites, which together are called the TripleSat Constellation. Those three spacecraft now follow each other in a close formation, where they take photos of disturbing quality in both visible and infrared wavelengths.

The TripleSat Constellation is currently being leased to a Chinese corporation, allegedly for the purposes of urban development and managing crop yields. It is unclear what safeguards, if any, SSTL has in-place against more nefarious uses of its equipment.

With private interests already capable of capturing such astounding photos of our daily lives, Carbonite will fill a more niche role. The company’s Head of Earth Observation told the BBC, “What Carbonite is about is filling in the blanks, and doing it in a timely way. There is a lot of hype out there about some of these new systems – that they can do everything. No, they can’t, but for certain applications, they will nevertheless perform a role in supporting more capable constellations.”

Satellite constellation's view of an Italian beach demonstrates incredible quality. Rows of parasols are clearly visible.  (BBC

Satellite constellation’s view of an Italian beach demonstrates incredible quality, with rows of parasols clearly visible.  (BBC)

There are many interpretations of “filling in the blanks,” but the only one that may soon matter is that of the highest bidder. With a projected build time of three months per Carbonite, it may not be long before there’s one over your head.

Are you amazed by the potential applications of a sky full of Carbonites or alarmed that an orbiting network of cheap, high-resolution cameras could signal the end of privacy as we know it? What outdoor habits would you change if your every move was visible from space?

Join us in the discussion! Comment, share on Facebook, and find us on Twitter, hashtag #DMTalk.

Chris L

C. Paul Carlos

C. Paul Carlos is a big fan of Art Bell and all things paranormal and otherwise weird. He can often be found dropping tweets into the void at #DMTalk, or skulking around at the MidnightFans.com forums, where he serves as a humble mod and pot-stirring enthusiast.

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1 Response

  1. Darren M. says:

    History has shown that new technologies have the power to be both a positive and destructive force for humanity. It is imperative that the new technologies being developed for space are monitored and regulated.

    My name is Darren M. and I’m being targeted with satellite D.E.W.’s (directed energy weapons). I believe I’m being targeted for experimentation purposes. This satellite D.E.W. targeting is most probably being performed by an entity within the Pentagon and U.S. defense corporations.

    I am being targeted with concentrated directed energy, possibly microwave, in the form of a narrow beam and/or laser. Multiple times throughout the day, I will experience either a painful burning sensation on the top of my head, or the painful sensation of a pin/nail entering the top of my head, both of which are followed by pain within my head, and a feeling of sickness and weakness throughout my body. The pain and sickness I experience following each D.E.W. hit to the top of my head varies directly with the intensity of the hit. This satellite D.E.W. targeting of me has been physical and mental torture. It causes me pain and sickness many times throughout my day and depresses my mood. It has isolated me from my friends and family. I do not like to go out in public places such as restaurants, stores, etc. because I never know when I will be hit by the satellites.

    I believe the purpose of this satellite D.E.W. experimentation is to see what short-term and long-term negative health effects can be produced by targeting humans. From my personal observations of the pain and sickness I experience following each hit to the top of my head, I believe it is possible for these satellite D.E.W.’s to cause strokes and cancers in humans. I believe this experimentation is also being performed in order to refine the use of these satellite anti-personnel weapons to the point where future targeted individuals will not be able to detect what is causing their pain and sickness. If this goal is achieved, these D.E.W.’s will likely be used on targets such as activists, journalists, and other people deemed as threats. I believe these weapons have the capability to slowly kill individuals with little to no trace of evidence.

    These satellite directed energy weapons are a serious threat to human rights on our planet. They are silent and invisible, and therefore not easily detectable. They employ laser technology which allow their operators to target specific individuals, without detection by others, even when in close proximity to the targeted individual.

    Darren M.
    dewtarget05 AT
    yahoo DOT com

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