Distributed Optical Imaging of the Upper Atmosphere

Award Information
Agency: Department of Defense
Branch: Air Force
Contract: FA8718-04-C-0015
Agency Tracking Number: F041-041-1383
Amount: $100,000.00
Phase: Phase I
Program: SBIR
Awards Year: 2004
Solicitation Year: 2004
Solicitation Topic Code: AF04-041
Solicitation Number: 2004.1
Small Business Information
101 Industrial Blvd., Turners Falls, MA, 01376
DUNS: 621127018
HUBZone Owned: N
Woman Owned: N
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: N
Principal Investigator
 Mark Beaubien
 Sr. Engineer
 (413) 863-0200
Business Contact
 Mark Beaubien
Title: President
Phone: (413) 863-0200
Email: mcb@yesinc.com
Research Institution
This proposal describes an automatic sky imager capable of remotely and automatically imaging sub-visual optical emissions from the atmosphere. The USAF is charged with monitoring space weather, as well as modeling and forecasting space weather phenomena including equatorial plumes, auroral arcs, or polar cap patches. Surface observations are one of the few means available to determine upper atmospheric conditions over large regions. While space weather forecasts exist, they are frequently inaccurate and real time observations remain critical to assessing the earth-space environment. Ground-based environmental imaging systems are affordable, flexible, and accessible compared to space-based instruments, but are currently limited in operational utility primarily by tropospheric weather conditions and light sensitivity. If the field of view of a ground-based upper atmospheric imager is greater than the decorrelation distance for terrestrial cloud cover, a network of multiple imagers distributed many km apart, but with overlapping fields of view, could provide high-quality real-time space environment information. When favorable conditions allow for multiple overlapping observations, such a network could also provide products including tomographic reconstructions, ionospheric drift measurements, unambiguous emission heights, neutral density determinations, detection of clouds, and wind speed at the cloud base, a feat that currently requires costly radiosonde launches.

* Information listed above is at the time of submission. *

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