Lucky Imaging with Coherent Illumination and Tracking for Space Situational Awareness
Small Business Information
8 Chrysler, Irvine, CA, 92618
AbstractGround-based optical imaging of space vehicles in orbit and launch vehicles in boost phase is crucial to Space Situational Awareness (SSA). The limiting factor is atmospheric turbulence. Recent advances in CCDs have allowed for practical implementation of Frieds Lucky Shot concept, in which the optical path is occasionally clear of distortion for short periods of time. This allows 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 MetroLasers proven target-in-the-loop optical phase conjugation (TIL-OPC) to coherently illuminate glints on targets and independently measure the Strehl Ratio of the optical path at 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, the 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, testing of the CLIMATE system will be performed under laboratory conditions. In Phase II, the system will be integrated with SSA platforms. 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.
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