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Proceedings Paper

Ultraviolet Surveillance Of Boosters And Post-Boost Vehicles
Author(s): Stuart Bowyer; Mark Hurwitz
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Paper Abstract

A priority in the Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI) is development of a space-based system to detect, identify, and track ICBMs. We show that ultraviolet surveillance provides advantages unavailable in any other wavelength band. During boost phase it should be possible to identify vehicles by their UV emissions and to track the hard body by detection of the vacuum core. After burn out, UV emission from shocked gas at the vehicle tip may be detectable. This is particularly important for surveillance of "fast burn" boosters, which burn out at a low altitude and hence are virtually invisible to infrared sensors by the time they reach an altitude where the atmosphere is transparent to IR radiation. We discuss the feasibility of tracking conventional and fast-burn vehicles via UV surveillance from space. Estimates of the UV brightness of typical targets are provided. We also consider the ambient day and night time background and evaluate the signal to noise ratio achievable under various viewing scenarios. We discuss instrumentation which should be capable of detecting and tracking such targets from geosynchronous orbit. An added advantage of UV surveillance is the availability of sensitive, rugged UV detectors which are under development by both the U.S. and the U.S.S.R.

Paper Details

Date Published: 13 April 1988
PDF: 3 pages
Proc. SPIE 0868, Optoelectronic Technologies for Remote Sensing from Space, (13 April 1988); doi: 10.1117/12.943592
Show Author Affiliations
Stuart Bowyer, University of California (United States)
Mark Hurwitz, University of California (United States)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 0868:
Optoelectronic Technologies for Remote Sensing from Space
C. Stuart Bowyer; John S. Seeley, Editor(s)

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