The STereoscopic imaging Channel (STC) is one of the three channels of SIMBIO-SYS instrument, whose goal is to study the Mercury surface in visible wavelength range. The SIMBIO-SYS instrument is on-board of ESA Bepicolombo spacecraft. STC is a double wide angle camera designed to map in 3D the whole Mercury surface. The detector of STC has been equipped with six filters: two panchromatic and four broad band. The panchromatic filters are centred at 700 nm with 200 nm of bandwidth, while the broad band ones have bandwidth of 20 nm and are centred at 420, 550, 750 and 920 nm, respectively. In order to verify the relative spectral response of each STC sub-channel, a spectral calibration has to be performed during the on-ground calibration campaign. The result consists in the transmissivity curve of each filter of STC as function of wavelength. The camera has been illuminated with a monochromator coupled with a diffuser and a collimator. The images have been acquired by changing the wavelength of the monochromator in the range correspondent to the filter bandwidth. The background images have been obtained by covering the light source and have been used to calculate and subtract the dark signal, fixed pattern noise (FPN) and ambient effects.
The Stereo Channel (STC) is a double wide-angle camera developed to be one of the channels of the SIMBIO-SYS instrument onboard of the ESA BepiColombo mission to Mercury. STC main goal is to map in 3D the whole Mercury surface.
The geometric and radiometric responses of the STC Proto Flight model have been characterized on-ground during the calibration campaign. The derived responses will be used to calibrate the STC images that will be acquired in flight. The aim is to derive the functions that link the detected signal in digital number to the radiance of the target surface in physical units.
The result of the radiometric calibration consists in the determination of well-defined quantities: i) the dark current as a function of the integration time and of the detector temperature, nominally fixed at 268 K; ii) the Read Out Noise, which is associated with the noise signal of the read-out electronic; iii) the Fixed Pattern Noise, which is generated by the different response of each pixel; iv) once these quantities are known, the photon response and the Photo Response Non-uniformity, which represent the variation of the photon-responsivity of a pixel in an array, can be derived.
The final result of the radiometric calibration is the relation between the radiance of an accurately known and uniform source, and the digital numbers measured by the detector.
The Linearly Variable Filters (LVF) are complex optical devices that, integrated in a CCD, can realize a "single chip spectrometer". In the framework of an ESA Study, a team of industries and institutes led by SELEX-Galileo explored the design principles and manufacturing techniques, realizing and characterizing LVF samples based both on All-Dielectric (AD) and Metal-Dielectric (MD) Coating Structures in the VNIR and SWIR spectral ranges. In particular the achieved performances on spectral gradient, transmission bandwidth and Spectral Attenuation (SA) are presented and critically discussed. Potential improvements will be highlighted. In addition the results of a feasibility study of a SWIR Linear Variable Filter are presented with the comparison of design prediction and measured performances. Finally criticalities related to the filter-CCD packaging are discussed.
The main achievements reached during these activities have been:
- to evaluate by design, manufacturing and test of LVF samples the achievable performances compared with target requirements;
- to evaluate the reliability of the projects by analyzing their repeatability;
- to define suitable measurement methodologies
The ESA-JAXA mission BepiColombo that will be launched in 2018 is devoted to the observation of Mercury, the innermost planet of the Solar System. SIMBIOSYS is its remote sensing suite, which consists of three instruments: the High Resolution Imaging Channel (HRIC), the Visible and Infrared Hyperspectral Imager (VIHI), and the Stereo Imaging Channel (STC). The latter will provide the global three dimensional reconstruction of the Mercury surface, and it represents the first push-frame stereo camera on board of a space satellite. Based on a new telescope design, STC combines the advantages of a compact single detector camera to the convenience of a double direction acquisition system; this solution allows to minimize mass and volume performing a push-frame imaging acquisition. The shared camera sensor is divided in six portions: four are covered with suitable filters; the others, one looking forward and one backwards with respect to nadir direction, are covered with a panchromatic filter supplying stereo image pairs of the planet surface. The main STC scientific requirements are to reconstruct in 3D the Mercury surface with a vertical accuracy better than 80 m and performing a global imaging with a grid size of 65 m along-track at the periherm. Scope of this work is to present the on-ground geometric calibration pipeline for this original instrument. The selected STC off-axis configuration forced to develop a new distortion map model. Additional considerations are connected to the detector, a Si-Pin hybrid CMOS, which is characterized by a high fixed pattern noise. This had a great impact in pre-calibration phases compelling to use a not common approach to the definition of the spot centroids in the distortion calibration process. This work presents the results obtained during the calibration of STC concerning the distortion analysis for three different temperatures. These results are then used to define the corresponding distortion model of the camera.
SIMBIOSYS is a highly integrated instrument suite that will be mounted on-board BepiColombo, which is the fifth cornerstone mission of the European Space Agency dedicated to the exploration of the planet Mercury and it is expected to be launched in 2016. The SIMBIOSYS instrument consists of three channels: the STereo imaging Channel (STC), with broad spectral bands in the 400–950 nm range and medium spatial resolution (up to 50 m/px); the High Resolution Imaging Channel (HRIC), with broad spectral bands in the 400–900 nm range and high spatial resolution (up to 5 m/px), and the Visible and near- Infrared Hyperspectral Imaging channel (VIHI), with high spectral resolution (up to 6 nm) in the 400–2000 nm range and spatial resolution up to 100 m/px. The on-ground calibration system has to cover the full spectral range of the instrument, i.e. from 400 to 2000 nm, and the emitted radiance has to vary over a range of four decades to account for both simulations of Mercury surface acquisition and star field observations. The methods and the results of the measurements done to calibrate the integrating sphere needed for the on-ground radiometric testing of the SIMBIOSYS instrument will be given and discussed. Temporal stability, both on short and long periods, spatial and spectral uniformity, and the emitted radiance for different lamp configurations and different shutter apertures have been measured. The results of the data analysis confirm that the performance of the integrating sphere is well suited for the radiometric calibration of all the three different channels of the SIMBIOSYS instrument.
Compact spectrometers are of interest for space applications for both Earth observation and analysis of planet soil. The
spectrometer here described is dedicated to Land imaging and is based on the use of linear variable filters for wavelength
selection. This kind of filter is able to transmit the radiation in a narrow band (<20 nm) centered on a wavelength that
changes along its surface, and to operate in a wide spectrum (visible-infrared). Both the variable filter characteristics and
the results of the breadboard spectrometer operation will be reported.