Enhancing High-Resolution Imagery for Space Situational Awareness with Lucky Imaging and Adaptive Optics

Award Information
Agency: Department of Defense
Branch: Air Force
Contract: FA9453-09-M-0102
Agency Tracking Number: F083-199-0045
Amount: $98,746.00
Phase: Phase I
Program: SBIR
Awards Year: 2009
Solitcitation Year: 2008
Solitcitation Topic Code: AF083-199
Solitcitation Number: 2008.3
Small Business Information
Hart Scientific Consulting International
4370 E. La Paloma Dr., Tucson, AZ, 85718
Duns: 828069190
Hubzone Owned: N
Woman Owned: N
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: N
Principal Investigator
 E. Keith Hege
 Principal Investigator
 (520) 907-1857
Business Contact
 Michael Hart
Title: General Manager
Phone: (520) 419-6401
Email: Brian.Spence@DeployableSpaceSystems
Research Institution
We propose the development and laboratory demonstration of a method that will revolutionize the high resolution satellite imaging capabilities of ground-based optical systems.  Current imaging systems supporting Space Situational Awareness (SSA), even those equipped with state-of-the-art adaptive optics (AO), fail to exploit the intrinsic field of view of the imager at the full resolution of the telescope.  Our integrated approach will bring together advances in optimal data selection (lucky imaging), visible wavelength sensor technology, and adaptive wavefront compensation to offer imaging over the entire field at the limit of resolving power imposed by physics.  This major enhancement of capability may be implemented on existing imaging systems with no changes to their opto-mechanical hardware, and will be packaged to provide real-time results as a module in a net-centric SSA environment. Our strategy calls for an initial development in numerical simulation using full-wave optical propagation software, combined with both real image data of orbiting vehicles and high-fidelity models.  The simulation will enable the determination of optimal data selection criteria and evaluation of AO as an adjunct technology.  Concurrently, a bench-top laboratory demonstrator will be designed and built, to include AO using a MEMS deformable mirror, and realistic multi-layered atmospheric turbulence with variable Greenwood frequency, Fried parameter, and Cn2 profile.  Results of the numerical simulation will be transferred to the laboratory for a complete proof-of-concept demonstration.  The laboratory test results will form the basis for the design of a system to be fielded in Phase II, and will be essential to identify potential areas of technical and programmatic risk to be addressed in the later phase. BENEFIT: Anticipated benefits: Improved resolution imaging of satellites with no upgrades to the electro-optical hardware. Improved contrast for detection of potentially hostile microsatellites. Commercial applications: Perimeter security at military bases and secure civilian facilities (e.g. airports). Border security (identification of illegal border crossers). Law enforcement (e.g. facial recognition, reading license plates at unprecedented distance).

* information listed above is at the time of submission.

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