This paper describes design features that are being implemented in a purpose-built IR camera system to support the study of the solar corona during the 2019 Chile total eclipse. This mission is challenged by the relatively low, inband flux signal conditions present during the eclipse, and the larger system’s need to identify the specific, very narrow spectral bands of interest. With the features implemented within the dewar, the required improvement in scene contrast and detector sensitivity was achieved.
We describe the use of Vantablack® in commercial infrared imaging systems, including in thermal infrared cameras and test equipment. Vantablack® is an ultra-black coating developed by Surrey NanoSystems Ltd. in the United Kingdom and supported in the USA by Santa Barbara Infrared, Inc. Vantablack® was originally developed for satellite-borne blackbody calibration systems and is now available in two versions, either directly applied to surfaces using vacuum-deposition technology (Vantablack®), or by spraying and then post-processing (Vantablack®-S). In this paper, we present the results of Vantablack®-S coated cold shields and blackbody calibration sources; and compare performance to other industry standard black coatings. Also included are results of environmental testing on coated surfaces demonstrating that, while they are not meant to be touched, they withstand extremes of heat, vacuum and thermal cycling as well or better than other black coatings.
Designing custom hardware for space payloads often imposes many constraints in terms of non-recurring design effort and material lead times. Transitioning the use of Commercial-Off-The-Shelf (COTS) hardware for increased-severity environmental service can prove a desirable alternative when mission requirements have some flexibility in terms of weight and envelope. Surviving the extreme vibration conditions present during a rocket launch is one of the most difficult challenges for the use of COTS-based solutions. IRCameras has provided a pathway means of ruggedizing common weak links within Integrated Dewar Cooler Assembly (IDCA) to support CubeSat space launch missions.