From satellite reconnaissance to WAMI, Gorgon Stare may have started technologies for hyper-surveillance

June 11, 2019
1998 Hollywood movie Enemy of the State may have inspired today's cutting-edge persistent surveillance technologies that watch everything all the time.

LIVERMORE, Calif. – In the 1998 Hollywood thriller Enemy of the State, an innocent man (played by Will Smith) is pursued by a rogue spy agency that uses the advanced satellite “Big Daddy” to monitor his every move. Nature reports. Continue reading original article

The Military & Aerospace Electronics take:

11 June 2019 -- It was, however, much more than just prescient: it was also an inspiration, even a blueprint, for one of the most powerful surveillance technologies ever created.

A researcher (unnamed) at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California who saw the movie at its debut decided to “explore — theoretically, at first — how emerging digital-imaging technology could be affixed to a satellite” to craft something like Big Daddy.

He traces the development of that technology, called wide-area motion imagery (WAMI), by the U.S. military from 2001. A camera on steroids, WAMI can capture images of large areas, in some cases an entire city.

Related: Mercury Systems provides onboard processing technology for U.S. Air Force Gorgon Stare wide-area persistent surveillance system

Related: HPEC enables onboard data processing for persistent surveillance

Related: Maintaining a constant reconnaissance eye

John Keller, chief editor
Military & Aerospace Electronics

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