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Proceedings Paper

Observation of the launch of the Atlas 5 EELV with a dual-band QWIP focal plane array
Author(s): Arnold C. Goldberg
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Paper Abstract

We present imagery taken with a quantum well infrared photodetector (QWIP) dual-band infrared (IR) focal plane array (FPA) of the inaugural launch of the Atlas 5 launch vehicle. The FPA was developed under the Army Research Laboratory's Advanced Sensors Federated Laboratory program and used a read-out integrated circuit produced under the Air Force Research Laboratory's Advanced Multi-Quantum Well Technology program. The detectors are able to sense light in both the 3-5 micron (MWIR) and 8-12 micron (LWIR) atmospheric transmission windows such that the resulting LWIR and MIWR images are pixel registered and simultaneous. The FPA was installed in a camera system that used a closed-cycle cooler to operate at 60 K. The camera was placed at the prime focus of an all-reflective telescope on a computer-controlled tracking mount at the Innovative Sensor Technology Evaluation Facility (ISTEF) at the Kennedy Space Center. The launch was observed from ISTEF at a distance of 15 km from the pad. Before and after the launch, The FPA/camera system was calibrated using standard blackbody sources. The launch vehicle was observed from about 30 s after launch until approximately 4 minutes after launch. This corresponded to ranges between 15 km and more than 300 km and altitudes from just over 1 km to more than 100 km. Several interesting differences in the structure of the plume were observed. In addition, the hardbody of the rocket was seen in the LWIR imagery but was undetectable in the MWIR imagery. The imagery was unsaturated in both bands allowing us to obtain good measurements of the radiance of the plume in both the MWIR and LWIR bands.

Paper Details

Date Published: 10 November 2003
PDF: 15 pages
Proc. SPIE 5152, Infrared Spaceborne Remote Sensing XI, (10 November 2003); doi: 10.1117/12.504039
Show Author Affiliations
Arnold C. Goldberg, Army Research Lab. (United States)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 5152:
Infrared Spaceborne Remote Sensing XI
Marija Strojnik, Editor(s)

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