Micro and pico satellites in maritime interdiction operations
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In a complex maritime environment it is pivotal to localize, verify, search, track, and tag maritime assets that might travel through critical sea lines of communication while transferring sensitive cargo materials. In the emerging environment of network-controlled Maritime Interdiction Operations (MIO), tagging and tracking of hazardous non-proliferation materials that are transported by small craft around the world, remains one of the major technological and operational challenges. The emerging technology of Micro and Pico small satellites represents a unique tactical capability for extending small craft surveillance, by the introduction of a network into the low orbit, thereby maintaining ubiquitous situational awareness between the partners in the maritime patrol areas as well as remote expert and command centres around the globe. The goal of this paper is to explore how the unique capabilities of Cube and Tubesat small satellites could be applied to improve the MIO networking of tagging, tracking, and data sharing with remote expert sites. The Tactical Network Testbed (TNT) and innovative experimentation MIO process (TNT MIO) developed at the Naval Postgraduate School (Bordetsky and Netzer, 2009) in cooperation with Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, USSOCOM, and other partners, represents the platform for the described study. In the paper we analyze capabilities and existing applications of small satellite technology to the maritime awareness tasks. Based on this analysis, we develop the set of Cube and Tube satellite integration experiments, enabling enhanced tagging, tracking, and global data sharing solutions for emerging network-controlled MIO scenarios. In the proposed field experiments, globally distributed players will be located by using Cube or Tube satellite capability. The experiment participants will evaluate the feasibility of applying Cube and Tube satellite data channels to the real-time sensor data sharing with the remote subject matter experts and associated constraints. All together the results of the proposed experiments would allow the development of a new concept of shared maritime interdiction operations based on the Nano and Pico satellite capabilities.
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