12 September 2012 The MROI's capabilities for imaging geosynchronous satellites
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Abstract
Interferometry provides the only practicable way to image meter-scale structure in geosynchronous satellites. This capability represents a unique commercial opportunity for astronomical interferometry, but to date no interferometer has been able to make an image of such a satellite. We discuss the challenges of imaging these objects and present results of sensitivity calculations and imaging simulations which show that the Magdalena Ridge Observatory Interferometer is likely to be well-suited to this application. Our preliminary results suggest that a significant proportion of GEO targets may be accessible and that it may be possible to routinely extract key satellite diagnostics with an imaging capability that would be able to distinguish, for example, 70 cm features on a 5-meter satellite bus and payload, 30 cm features on a 2-meter satellite bus or similarly sized structure, as well as precise quantitative information on much larger structures such as 10 m long solar panels. Optimised observation and data reduction strategies are likely to allow these limits to be improved in due course.
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John Young, John Young, Christopher Haniff, Christopher Haniff, David Buscher, David Buscher, Michelle Creech-Eakman, Michelle Creech-Eakman, Ifan Payne, Ifan Payne, Colby Jurgenson, Colby Jurgenson, Van Romero, Van Romero, } "The MROI's capabilities for imaging geosynchronous satellites", Proc. SPIE 8445, Optical and Infrared Interferometry III, 84452N (12 September 2012); doi: 10.1117/12.926161; https://doi.org/10.1117/12.926161
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