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Proceedings Paper

NIR daylight acquisition sensor improves mission capabilities
Author(s): Douglas E. Chesser; Darius Vunck; Terry Born; Wayne Axelson; Karl Rehder; Robert S. Medrano
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Paper Abstract

The US Air Force Maui Space Surveillance System includes a 1.6 meter telescope located at the summit of Haleakala. This telescope has long played a key role in Space Object Identification (SOI) and other scientific research projects. The unique configuration of the 1.6m telescope and its suite of instruments make it ideally suited for high speed, extra-atmospheric Satellite and Missile tracking. However, because of the uniquely designed narrow field of the 1.6m telescope, acquisition of daytime objects presents a challenge. In the past, the 1.6 meter system relied primarily on offsite radar handoffs to provide FOV object placement. This reliance on radar based handoffs increased system operational complexity and decreased system reliability. Recognizing the value of improving mission operational availability and success the US Air Force Research Laboratory and contractor Boeing worked together to design a low cost system to improve the wide field acquisition of daylight objects. This instrument, known as the Daylight Acquisition Sensor (DAS), was developed using a COTS NIR Camera with custom NIR optics assemblies controlled with an integrated COTS embedded computer interface. The design that was implemented is a modification to the existing 0.56 meter nighttime only acquisition telescope, which now, because of the new NIR imaging sensor is capable of both daytime and nighttime acquisition. The system has been in operation for over 1 year and has significantly improved the acquisition capabilities of the 1.6m telescope while at the same time greatly reducing dependency on radar handoff. This paper discusses the design of the NIR Daylight Acquisition Sensor and some of the results from missions it has supported.

Paper Details

Date Published: 4 August 2003
PDF: 12 pages
Proc. SPIE 5082, Acquisition, Tracking, and Pointing XVII, (4 August 2003); doi: 10.1117/12.497204
Show Author Affiliations
Douglas E. Chesser, Boeing Co. (United States)
Darius Vunck, Boeing Co. (United States)
Terry Born, Boeing Co. (United States)
Wayne Axelson, Boeing Co. (United States)
Karl Rehder, Boeing Co. (United States)
Robert S. Medrano, Air Force Research Lab. (United States)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 5082:
Acquisition, Tracking, and Pointing XVII
Michael K. Masten; Larry A. Stockum, Editor(s)

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