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Proceedings Paper

Processing near-infrared imagery of hypersonic space shuttle reentries
Author(s): Thomas S. Spisz; Jeff C. Taylor; David M. Gibson; Kwame Osei-Wusu; Thomas J. Horvath; Joseph N. Zalameda; Deborah M. Tomek; Alan B. Tietjen; Steve Tack; Richard J. Schwartz
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Paper Abstract

High-resolution, calibrated, near-infrared imagery of the Space Shuttle during reentry has been obtained by a US Navy NP-3D Orion aircraft as part of NASA's HYTHIRM (Hypersonic Thermodynamic InfraRed Measurements) project. The long-range optical sensor package is called Cast Glance. Three sets of imagery have been processed thus far: 1) STS- 119 when Shuttle Discovery was at 52 km away at Mach 8.4, 2) STS-125 when Shuttle Atlantis was 71 km away at Mach 14.3, and 3) STS-128 when Shuttle Discovery was at 80 km away at Mach 14.7. The challenges presented in processing a manually-tracked high-angular rate, air-to-air image data collection include management of significant frame-to-frame motions, motion-induced blurring, changing orientations and ranges, daylight conditions, and sky backgrounds (including some cirrus clouds). This paper describes processing the imagery to estimate Shuttle surface temperatures. Our goal is to reduce the detrimental effects due to motions (sensor and Shuttle), vibration, and atmospherics for image quality improvement, without compromising the quantitative integrity of the data, especially local intensity variations. Our approach is to select and utilize only the highest quality images, register many cotemporal image frames to a single image frame, and then add the registered frames to improve image quality and reduce noise. These registered and averaged intensity images are converted to temperatures on the Shuttle's windward surface using a series of steps starting with preflight calibration data. Comparisons with thermocouples at different points along the space Shuttle and between the three reentries will be shown.

Paper Details

Date Published: 3 May 2010
PDF: 12 pages
Proc. SPIE 7661, Thermosense XXXII, 76610I (3 May 2010); doi: 10.1117/12.849741
Show Author Affiliations
Thomas S. Spisz, The Johns Hopkins Univ. (United States)
Jeff C. Taylor, The Johns Hopkins Univ. (United States)
David M. Gibson, The Johns Hopkins Univ. (United States)
Kwame Osei-Wusu, The Johns Hopkins Univ. (United States)
Thomas J. Horvath, NASA Langley Research Ctr. (United States)
Joseph N. Zalameda, NASA Langley Research Ctr. (United States)
Deborah M. Tomek, NASA Langley Research Ctr. (United States)
Alan B. Tietjen, ISTE-CSC (United States)
Steve Tack, Naval Air Warfare Ctr. (United States)
Richard J. Schwartz, ATK Space Systems (United States)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 7661:
Thermosense XXXII
Ralph B. Dinwiddie; Morteza Safai, Editor(s)

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