The military's covert agency DARPA is working on a space-based spy telescope that can hover in orbit to "take real-time images or live video of any spot on Earth." They want to launch satellites that can zoom in on anyone at any time or place and stream real-time video.
The Network World website quotes a DARPA memo as saying, "Today, aircraft are used for some imagery requirements. Because of the huge quantity of aircraft needed, and because aircraft do not fly high enough to see into denied territories, spacecraft are also used for imagery requirements."
DARPA's goal is to have a lens about 66 feet in diameter that would be attached to a space-based spy telescope in order to hover in orbit and "take real-time images or live video of any spot on Earth." The estimated cost for such a telescope is $500 million.
While such a device could be misused and spell the end of privacy here in the US, the immediate goal is to spy on our enemies. Network World quotes Aviation Week as saying, "It would be able to image an area greater than (63 square 63 miles) with a video update rate of at least one frame a second, providing a 99% chance of detecting a Scud-class missile launch."
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