Kestrel Eye Program

Monday, August 14, 2017

What is it?

The U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command/Army Forces Strategic Command (USASMDC/ARSTRAT) Technical Center's Kestrel Eye is a small, low-cost, visible-imagery satellite designed to provide images rapidly to the tactical-level ground warfighter. Kestrel Eye is a microsatellite technology demonstrator weighing approximately 50 kg that is an electro-optical imaging satellite with tactically useful resolution.

The intent of Kestrel Eye is to demonstrate the military utility of providing rapid situational awareness directly to Army brigade combat teams.

What has the Army done?

Kestrel Eye will enhance situational awareness of the brigade combat teams by providing satellite imagery without the need for conventional continental U.S. -based relays. Kestrel Eye was developed by USASMDC/ARSTRAT labs and will be tracked using the Kestrel Eye Ground Station and Kestrel Eye Warfighter Assisting Low-Earth Orbit Tracker.

Kestrel Eye is scheduled for launch to the International Space Station from Cape Canaveral, Florida, on August 14.

What continued efforts are planned for the future?

As the Army proponent for space, USASMDC/ARSTRAT is developing nanosatellite technologies to support technology demonstrations showing how nanosatellites can be used to support the Soldier on the battlefield.

Depending on the results of the demonstration, the Army has plans to potentially launch dozens of satellites with similar operational capabilities into low-Earth orbit.

Why is this important to the Army?

Currently 60 percent to 70 percent of Army systems depend upon space to perform their mission. Kestrel Eye is designed to be tactically responsive, with the ability to task and receive data from the satellite during an overhead pass. It will provide a measure of satellite persistence that can provide situational awareness and images rapidly to the warfighter.

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FOCUS QUOTE FOR THE DAY

[Kestrel Eye's] purpose is to get information down to the warfighter as rapidly as possible. Kestrel Eye's focus will be to get its information down to the lowest levels and support the troops in the foxholes.

- Wheeler "Chip" Hardy, Kestrel Eye program manager, SMDC Tech Center's Space and Strategic Systems Directorate

SMDC prepares for upcoming Kestrel Eye launch

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