The US Air Force Research Laboratory has confirmed that the hyperspectral imaging sensor, or ARTEMIS, aboard the TacSat-3 spacecraft has been activated.
The activation will enable the air force to test the sensor's ability to deliver tactical surveillance information to troops within ten minutes of collecting data.
The forces can also use ARTEMIS, comprising a telescope, spectrometer and on-board digital signal processor, to identify and image camouflage, disturbed earth and other signs of enemy activity.
The sensor has been developed for the military satellite by Raytheon for $15m.
The TacSat-3 was recently launched from Nasa's Wallop facility to assist warfighters and to provide real-time high-resolution imagery.