Enhancing High-Resolution Imagery for Space Situational Awareness with Lucky Imaging and Adaptive Optics
Small Business Information
4370 E. La Paloma Dr., Tucson, AZ, 85718
E. Keith Hege
AbstractWe 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).
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