Military utility of small satellites

© Fraunhofer EMI
SkySat and RADARSAT-2 image details that show an area of the Pacific Missile Range Facility runway.

In the Micro Satellite Military Utility Project Agreement (MSMU PA) project, which is performed under the umbrella of the Responsive Space Capability Memorandum of Understanding (RSC MoU), Fraunhofer EMI investigates the military utility of small satellites for the German Federal Armed Forces in cooperation with nine partner countries. The benefit of satellites is demonstrated by means of the data that the group obtains as an independent observer during military exercises, e.g., the RIMPAC (Rim of the Pacific) 2018. A large number of small satellites from the partners are used for collecting the data. In a so-called “hybrid space architecture”, military and commercial satellite capacities are combined, allowing for a better spatial coverage, a higher persistence, a larger number of experimental sensor types, and a smaller latency of the information products generated with the satellite capacities. One of EMI’s contributions is the experimental Rapid Sensor Analysis Tool (RASCAT), which is used for the analysis of sensor availability at a particular location on Earth. This tool can also be used for overflight warnings. In 2020 and 2021, further exercises are planned.