Interferometric Tracker for Anytime Detection and Tracking of GEO and GTO Objects

Award Information
Agency: Department of Defense
Branch: Air Force
Contract: FA9451-13-C-0094
Agency Tracking Number: F121-011-0123
Amount: $1,482,925.00
Phase: Phase II
Program: SBIR
Solicitation Topic Code: AF121-011
Solicitation Number: 2012.1
Solicitation Year: 2013
Award Year: 2015
Award Start Date (Proposal Award Date): 2015-09-01
Award End Date (Contract End Date): 2016-06-30
Small Business Information
26610 Agoura Road Suite 240, Calabasas, CA, 91302-3857
DUNS: 160209102
HUBZone Owned: N
Woman Owned: N
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: N
Principal Investigator
 Richard A Hutchin
 (818) 880-2907
Business Contact
 Gail Erten
Title: Director of Marketing
Phone: (818) 880-2907
Research Institution
ABSTRACT:Detection and precision tracking of objects in space are critical to space situational awareness.This task is routinely carried out at night with ground-based electro-optical telescopes.However, this capability needs to be extended to cover all times of day to detect and quantify less predictable spacecraft maneuvers to enable effective search for new, lost, or maneuvering vehicles and worldwide coverage of daytime space launches.A portable system offering flexibility and cost effectiveness is desirable.During the first phase of this project Optical Physics Company (OPC) designed a day/night satellite detection and tracking system that meets these objectives and demonstrated the concept with ground based daylight and twilight LEO satellite observations using an available SWIR interferometric tracker.During Phase II OPC will fabricate the complete instrument for GEO and GTO satellite detection and tracking, including sensor, telescope, processor and software.The unit will be installed and tested at Maui Space Surveillance Site (MSSS) to demonstrate initial operational capability.The expected performance of the instrument as validated by Phase I ground tests is detection and tracking of 14th visual magnitude satellites to about 1 microradian (rms) angular accuracy during daytime.Nighttime performance is betterextending to 18th visual magnitude.BENEFIT:Space situational awareness (SSA) is an increasing priority in a complex space environment.The sensor developed here can be easily and cost-effectively mass produced for deployment around the globe.This will substantially increase our ability to detect and track new launches or follow maneuvering vehicles on orbit.This same technology can be easily scaled to detection and track of LEO objects during the day and terminator conditions as well as nighttime GEO/MEO detection and track down to visual magnitude 20 under full moon conditions.SSA from space represents an additional application without any sky backgroundjust star clutter.Very compact and high performance trackers in space can use this same technology base and allow detailed mapping of debris fields.Since all launches and nations will benefit from mapping the debris field, this sensor network might reasonably become an international project.OPC has already demonstrated success with transitioning technologies developed under SBIR funding to ongoing research and acquisition programs.In particular, OPC has become a preferred supplier of deformable mirrors for high energy lasers.In case of the interferometric tracker, there are multiple avenues for technology transition.Besides tracking dim objects of interest, the interferometric tracker can also be deployed in high precision star trackers for spacecraft guidance navigation and control (GN&C) and for GPS-independent stellar inertial navigation on ground and airborne platforms.

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

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