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Space-Based Deep Space Imager (U)

Overview (U):

(U) The primary operational function of this concept is to provide imagery on 3-axis stabilized satellites in geosynchronous orbit. Wide-band imaging radars, whose primary mission includes deep-space imaging, cannot image geostationary 3-axis stabilized satellites. A space-based Imager is needed to maintain the SOB and providing support to intelligence users and providing satellite owners/operators a way to resolve anomalies in their DS satellites.

Description (U):

(U) This concept will employ a space-based imaging system and the associated on-board processing to downlink images to a user. These satellites will be placed in an orbit that allows for high resolution "flyby" imagery of geostationary satellites at distances of hundreds to thousands of kilometers.

(U) Deployment of a space-based imaging system should ensure routine imagery of DS objects with complete coverage of all GEO satellites. It could be deployed in a 180 degrees inclination circular orbit near geosynchronous altitudes or in a 0 degree inclination highly elliptical orbit. Other options should be explored.

(U) This concept will not evolve from any current systems, although it has a legacy from the Geosynchronous Imaging Experiment analytical study conducted in 1995. Resolution and revisit rate must meet Space Surveillance requirement. The key performance issue is the resolution obtainable on the DS satellites of interest considering the closest approach achievable without significant maneuvering. Many of these objects are in slightly inclined (i.e., not perfectly geosynchronous) orbits and the resolution obtainable on objects in orbits other than geosynchronous may be of lower quality.

(U) The key deployment issues include space lift requirements, orbital transfer requirements (to ensure sufficient flexibility), number of satellites required to image to satisfy intelligence requirements, and revisit rate.

(U) The key technology issues and choices are the size of the aperture to provide the required resolution, the sensitivity of the CCD sensor to record a high quality image from objects with a variety of brightness levels, the lifetime of the CCD arrays in the operating environment, the acquisition pointing and precision tracking necessary to provide high-resolution imagery at high angular rates, the spacecraft attitude, stabilization and control to permit the precision telescope pointing at high slew rates, and the on-board maneuver capacity for imaging slightly non-geosynchronous objects.

User Impact (U):

(U) Loss of this capability would have a significant impact on the Space Surveillance Network (SNN).

Programmatics (U):

(U) Programmable.

(U) Organizations and Funding:
  • (U) USSPACECOM: Funding Source.

Images (U):

(U) None.

Related Initiatives (U): None.

Related Requirements (U):None.

Related Categories (U):
Contibuting SensorsContibuting Sensors
Electro-OpticalElectro-Optical Shared Sensors
This Table Is Unclassified.

Road Map Placements (U):

This Table Is Unclassified.

Requirements, Funding and Additional Hotlinks (U):

(U) None.

Lead Office (U):

(U) Air Force.

Point of Contact (U):

(U) Capt Allen Schmelzel, AFRL, Open Phone: (505) 846-2049.
(U) Capt David Marchant, SMC, Open Phone: (310) 363-2593.

Date Of Information (U):

(U) 26 February 1998

(U) Road Map Production Date: 12 July 1999

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