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Space-based, Low-weight, Low-volume MWIR and SWIR Interferometer IR Sensor

Description:

OBJECTIVE: Develop a low weight and low volume hosted infrared sensor (including telescope and solar baffle) based on interferometer principles. DESCRIPTION: Space Based Infrared (IR) payloads have been proven exceptionally useful in applications such as missile warning, missile defense, technical intelligence, and battlespace awareness; however, they tend to be very large and heavy. In order to host an IR payload effectively on a commercial or government satellite bus, both weight and volume of the IR payload must be reduced. Interferometry can be used to combine several smaller sensors to replace a large one, while preserving some desirable capabilities [2,3,4]. This solicitation seeks innovative IR (MWIR and SWIR) interferometer based payloads to reduce weight and volume. Ideally, significant reductions would be made to both cost and size of the payload, scaling it down to a hosted payload volume. The rectangular outer envelope should not exceed 24 inches in any dimension. The main IR spectrums of interest are the atmospheric windows [1]. Multi-spectral capability is desired. The sensitivity should be maximized for a geostationary orbit. There shall be at least three IR sensor assemblies on a payload. No foreign nationals can work on this project. The technology shall be capable of supporting a 15-year mission in Geosynchronous Earth Orbit (GEO) or Medium Earth Orbit (MEO) and five years in Low Earth Orbit (LEO) after up to five years of ground storage. PHASE I: During Phase I, concepts for IR sensors based on interferometry should be further developed. This should include mechanical and optical models and accompanying SWAP, strength, and optical analyses. All sub-systems, including signal processing, should be identified and evaluated. If low cost is claimed, a target cost should be identified and plans to meet this cost should be described. PHASE II: Work should include fabrication of a representative ground based prototype to prove performance. The Phase II program should develop the process, procedures, and costs required to fabricate, test and deliver multiple space flight ready individual IR sensors (interferometer) hostable payloads. Verification of these procedures through launch and duration tests in a relevant (on-orbit simulated) environment should be considered. PHASE III: The Phase III work will integrate sensor into Program of Record or Space Test Flight. Small IR sensors with high performance have applications in UAVs, other airborne platforms, commercial IR surveillance satellites, and space telescopes (NASA). REFERENCES: 1. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Atmospheric_windows. 2. Bertero, M. et al,"Imaging with LINC-NIRVANA, the Fizeau interferometer of the Large Binocular Telescope: state of the art and open problems,"Inverse Problems, Vol 27 (2011). 3. Xiaolei Zhang; Carpenter, K.G.; Lyon, R.G.; Huet, H.; Mrzouk, J.; Solyar, G.; ,"The fizeau interferometer testbed,"Aerospace Conference, 2003. Proceedings. 2003 IEEE , vol.5, no., pp. 5_2181- 5_2189, March 8-15, 2003. doi: 10.1109/AERO.2003.1235143. 4. R. Fiete, T. Tantalo, J. Calus, and J. Mooney,"Image quality assessment of sparse aperture designs,"Applied Image Pattern Recognition Workshop,vol. 0, p. 269, 2000.
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