Lucky Imaging with Coherent Illumination and Tracking for Space Situational Awareness
Agency / Branch:
DOD / USAF
Ground-based space surveillance (GSS) is crucial to Space Situational Awareness (SSA). The limiting factor in GSS performance is atmospheric turbulence. Recent advances in CCDs enable practical implementation of "Lucky Shot" concept, making possible occasional detection of a clear image, and allowing for near diffraction-limited performance for terrestrial telescopes. Due to the rapid motion of space vehicles, lucky imaging must be adapted for use in SSA. In response, we propose the Coherent Lucky Imaging Monitoring Awareness Tracking and Evaluation (CLIMATE) system which employs MetroLaser's proprietary target-in-the-loop optical phase conjugation (TIL-OPC) to generate coherent glints on targets and independently measure the Strehl Ratio of the optical path at a very high speed. The CLIMATE system will employ the TIL-OPC technology to perform both anisoplanatic and isoplanatic lucky imaging. In the case of isoplanatic imaging, high-speed Strehl ratio measurements will be used to automatically cull and register the imagery, reducing processing and storage by an order of magnitude. In Phase I of this program we performed initial analysis of the proposed CLIMATE design and proved its perspective performance. During Phase II, we will design, integrate and verify the brassboard version of the CLIMATE module, culminating with its demonstration in an environment relevant to SSA. BENEFIT: Given that atmospheric turbulence is a limiting factor in nearly all long-distance terrestrial and airborne imaging, the CLIMATE system will be indispensable for a broad variety of applications. Initially, MetroLaser will focus on use with remote sensing and use at proving grounds for tracking and observation of test vehicles.
Small Business Information at Submission:
8 Chrysler Irvine, CA 92618
Number of Employees: