21 December 1994 High-resolution imagery of a space object using an unconventional laser-illumination imaging technique
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Abstract
The US Air Force Phillips Laboratory's Retro-Assisted Imaging Laser Experiment (RAILE) demonstrated high-resolution imaging of a space object from the ground using an active illumination imaging technique. Results were obtained using a technique known as Imaging Correlography where images are constructed from measurements of backscattered (non-imaged) laser speckle intensity patterns. The target for the experiment was the Relay Mirror satellite that was designed and launched for a separate experiment known as the Relay Mirror Experiment (RME). The satellite carried four retroreflectors, arranged in a pattern, that comprised the actual imaging target. The satellite was tracked from a ground site and illuminated with a low-power, coherent, visible laser beam. The receiver was a simple linear array of intensity detectors, or light buckets. The use of an inverse synthetic aperture scheme allowed a modest effective receiving aperture to be realized (approximately 2 x 2 m). Although the effective receiving aperture for this experiment was no larger than that of a moderate-sized astronomical telescope, the light bucket concept is scaleable to much larger apertures. Image reconstruction was done in the computer after the sampled intensity data was collected by the receiver array. The paper contains a discussion of the imaging correlography technique, the experimental hardware, and the field results including reconstructed imagery.
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David G. Voelz, David G. Voelz, Shawn D. O'Keefe, Shawn D. O'Keefe, John D. Gonglewski, John D. Gonglewski, Douglas B. Rider, Douglas B. Rider, Kathy J. Schulze, Kathy J. Schulze, "High-resolution imagery of a space object using an unconventional laser-illumination imaging technique", Proc. SPIE 2312, Optics in Atmospheric Propagation and Random Phenomena, (21 December 1994); doi: 10.1117/12.197377; https://doi.org/10.1117/12.197377
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