24 May 2012 Overview of the Sapphire payload for space surveillance
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Abstract
This paper provides an overview of the satellite based Sapphire Payload developed by COM DEV to be used for observing Resident Space Objects (RSOs) from low earth orbit by the Canadian Department of National Defence. The data from this operational mission will be provided to the US Space Surveillance Network as an international contribution to assist with RSO precision positional determination. The payload consists of two modules; an all reflective visible-band telescope housed with a low noise preamplifier/focal plane, and an electronics module that contains primary and redundant electronics. The telescope forms a low distortion image on two CCDs adjacent to each other in the focal plane, creating a primary image and a redundant image that are offset spatially. This combination of high-efficiency low-noise CCDs with well-proven high-throughput optics provides a very sensitive system with low risk and cost. Stray light is well controlled to allow for observations of very faint objects within the vicinity of the bright Earth limb. Thermally induced aberrations are minimized through the use of an all aluminum construction and the strategic use of thermal coatings. The payload will acquire a series of images for each target and perform onboard image pre-processing to minimize the downlink requirements. Internal calibration sources will be used periodically to check for health of the payload and to identify, and possibly correct, any pixels with an aberrant response. This paper also provides a summary of the testing that was performed and the results achieved.
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J. Hackett, J. Hackett, R. Brisby, R. Brisby, K. Smith, K. Smith, "Overview of the Sapphire payload for space surveillance", Proc. SPIE 8385, Sensors and Systems for Space Applications V, 83850W (24 May 2012); doi: 10.1117/12.921668; https://doi.org/10.1117/12.921668
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