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Proceedings Paper

Multiple instrument distributed aperture sensor (MIDAS) evolved design concept
Author(s): David Stubbs; Alan Duncan; Joseph T. Pitman; Robert Sigler; Rick Kendrick; Eric H. Smith; James Mason
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Paper Abstract

An innovative approach to future space telescopes that enables order of magnitude increased science return for astronomical, Earth-observing and planetary science missions is described. Our concept, called Multiple Instrument Distributed Aperture Sensor (MIDAS), provides a large-aperture, wide-field, diffraction-limited telescope at a fraction of the cost, mass and volume of conventional space telescopes. MIDAS integrates many optical interferometry advances as an evolution of over a decade of technology development in distributed aperture optical imaging systems. Nine collector telescopes are integrated into MIDAS as the primary remote sensing science payload, supporting a collection of six back-end science instruments tailored to a specific mission. By interfacing to multiple science instruments, enabling sequential and concurrent functional modes, we expand the potential science return of future space science missions many fold. Passive imaging modes with MIDAS enable remote sensing at diffraction-limited resolution sequentially by each science instrument, as well as in somewhat lower resolution by multiple science instruments acting concurrently on the image, such as in different wavebands. Our MIDAS concept inherently provides nanometer-resolution hyperspectral passive imaging without the need for any moving parts in the science instruments. For Earth-observing and planetary science missions, the MIDAS optical design provides high-resolution imaging at high altitudes for long dwell times, thereby enabling real-time, wide-area remote sensing of dynamic planetary surface characteristics. In its active remote sensing modes, using an integrated solid-state laser source, MIDAS enables surface illumination, active spectroscopy, LIDAR, vibrometery, and optical communications. Our concept is directly scalable to telescope synthetic apertures of 5m, limited by launch vehicle fairing diameter, and above 5m diameter achieved by means of autonomous deployments or manned assembly in space. MIDAS is a proven candidate for space flight missions, enabled by our continued investments in focused technology development areas.

Paper Details

Date Published: 20 October 2004
PDF: 8 pages
Proc. SPIE 5550, Free-Space Laser Communications IV, (20 October 2004); doi: 10.1117/12.560319
Show Author Affiliations
David Stubbs, Lockheed Martin Advanced Technology Ctr. (United States)
Alan Duncan, Lockheed Martin Advanced Technology Ctr. (United States)
Joseph T. Pitman, Lockheed Martin Advanced Technology Ctr. (United States)
Robert Sigler, Lockheed Martin Advanced Technology Ctr. (United States)
Rick Kendrick, Lockheed Martin Advanced Technology Ctr. (United States)
Eric H. Smith, Lockheed Martin Advanced Technology Ctr. (United States)
James Mason, Lockheed Martin Advanced Technology Ctr. (United States)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 5550:
Free-Space Laser Communications IV
Jennifer C. Ricklin; David G. Voelz, Editor(s)

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