This x-ray image of a mini sub was produced using the Eagle
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This x-ray image of a mini sub was produced using the Eagle® cargo inspection system

June 1, 2010
This x-ray image of a mini sub was produced using the Eagle® cargo inspection system, a sophisticated detection product capable of identifying contraband and terrorist weapons at ports of entry into the United States.

In response to growing concern that the nation's seaports could be used for smuggling illegal weapons, persons and contraband, the U.S. Customs and Border Protection purchased the Eagle© system and is now using it at the Seagirt Marine Terminal in Baltimore Harbor, Baltimore, Maryland. The Eagle©, which can "see" through a foot of steel, will allow customs inspectors to scan as many as 140 cargo containers a day at marine terminals. [See Related Image.]

More about this Image The Eagle® cargo inspection system was developed and produced by the Advanced Research and Applications Corporation (ARACOR) of Sunnyvale, California.

Development of the technology that allows the Eagle® to do it's job began in 1981, when ARACOR received a Phase I grant from the National Science Foundation's Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program. This would be the beginning of a 22-year period during which ARACOR would develop a computed tomography (CT) system, a powerful 3-D x-ray imaging approach. ARACOR entered SBIR Phase II the following year and obtained Air Force SBIR support as well.

The CT system has been used to x-ray such technology as rocket motors and nuclear weapons, and is used for quality assurance in the castings and automotive industries, as well as for research. In 1997, ARACOR found a promising new use for high-performance x-ray imaging in the inspection of sea and air cargo containers and trucks at ports of entry. Using the same powerful imaging system components developed for it's CT equipment, ARACOR designed and patented the Eagle®, a mobile x-ray imaging system. ARACOR was recently awarded a five-year contract with the U.S. Customs Service for their Eagle® system. (Year of image: 2003)

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