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SES uses balloons for surveillance

Satellite operator SES has introduced a portable surveillance and communications balloon, designed to provide enhanced situational awareness for border security, special event monitoring and disaster response missions around the world.

SES calls its balloon a ‘Tactical Persistent Surveillance’ (TPS) device and it is a highly portable solution capable of quick global deployment and operations. The modular TPS platform is based on Lighter-Than-Air inflatable aerostat technology, which hosts a variety of advanced electro-optical (E/O) sensor and communications payload options at altitudes up to 1,000 feet.

The balloons can carry an advanced sensor payload which can transmit or backhaul ISR (Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance) video and data via satellite to a centralised monitoring and control centre, using small aperture and quick deploy flyaway Ku-band antennas. The cost-effective ISR solution enables security, military defence and first responder teams to monitor areas on demand to detect, locate, characterize, identify and track people, objects and potential threats up to 5 kilometres away.

The balloons can incorporate MIMO (Multiple Input Multiple Output) radio technology and provide a mobile ad hoc communications network with 3G, 4G, LTE or WIMAX broadband connectivity up to 20 miles from an E/O sensor in areas where infrastructure is non-existent or destroyed. Satellite-delivered IP service is also an option within the MIMO coverage area, enabling any IP enabled device to support a broad range of field applications, including video streaming, voice, Internet, and remote mission-critical applications such as biometric identification.

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