Resident Space Object Detection and Characterization System
Agency / Branch:
DOD / USAF
Traditional means of searching a wide angular field for a threat or unknown object involves scanning a narrow field of view optical system or building a system with heavy wide-field-of-view optics. Neither method is optimum for an on-orbit system, as there are severe weight, reliability, complexity, and cost penalties. There is a need for space optical systems that have high sensitivity and can stare over a wide field of view without the complexity, size, and weight associated with scanners or wide-angle optics. Nanohmics proposes to build and test a novel optical system for space situational awareness that has a spherical field of regard, comprising two back-to-back sensors each with a 2π steradian (hemispherical) field of view. The system has no moving parts, has a very small depth along the optical axes, and can be constructed from light injection-molded polymers or space-quality glasses. The proposed Resident Space Object Detection and Characterization System (RSODCS) combines non-imaging optics with integrated reflective surfaces to achieve a spherical optical field of regard without sacrificing angular accuracy, sensitivity, or collection aperture. The RSODCS system stares for extended periods of time, detecting events with signatures that may indicate activity by a resident space object. BENEFIT: By the end of the Phase I program, Nanohmics will identify a major defense contractor as a potential commercial partner that is capable of further developing the RSODSC system, integrating it with existing satellite systems and payloads, and who can shepherd the technology through DoD acquisition. Nanohmics initial commercialization strategy is to license the technology developed in the Phase I and Phase II program to leading defense contractors or companies that supply space systems to the Air Force.
Small Business Information at Submission:
6201 East Oltorf St. Suite 400 Austin, TX 78741
Number of Employees: