23 May 2011 A low cost thermal infrared hyperspectral imager for small satellites
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Abstract
The traditional model for space-based earth observations involves long mission times, high cost, and long development time. Because of the significant time and monetary investment required, riskier instrument development missions or those with very specific scientific goals are unlikely to successfully obtain funding. However, a niche for earth observations exploiting new technologies in focused, short lifetime missions is opening with the growth of the small satellite market and launch opportunities for these satellites. These low-cost, short-lived missions provide an experimental platform for testing new sensor technologies that may transition to larger, more long-lived platforms. The low costs and short lifetimes also increase acceptable risk to sensors, enabling large decreases in cost using commercial off the shelf (COTS) parts and allowing early-career scientists and engineers to gain experience with these projects. We are building a low-cost long-wave infrared spectral sensor, funded by the NASA Experimental Project to Stimulate Competitive Research program (EPSCOR), to demonstrate the ways in which a university's scientific and instrument development programs can fit into this niche. The sensor is a low-mass, power efficient thermal hyperspectral imager with electronics contained in a pressure vessel to enable the use of COTS electronics, and will be compatible with small satellite platforms. The sensor, called Thermal Hyperspectral Imager (THI), is based on a Sagnac interferometer and uses an uncooled 320x256 microbolometer array. The sensor will collect calibrated radiance data at long-wave infrared (LWIR, 8-14 microns) wavelengths in 230-meter pixels with 20 wavenumber spectral resolution from a 400-km orbit.
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S. T. Crites, S. T. Crites, P. G. Lucey, P. G. Lucey, R. Wright, R. Wright, H. Garbeil, H. Garbeil, K. A. Horton, K. A. Horton, } "A low cost thermal infrared hyperspectral imager for small satellites", Proc. SPIE 8044, Sensors and Systems for Space Applications IV, 80440O (23 May 2011); doi: 10.1117/12.886535; https://doi.org/10.1117/12.886535
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