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Proceedings Paper

US/Russian microsatellite for calibrating active ground-based optical collectors
Author(s): Lyle G. Finkner; Jerry J. Sellers; James R. Rotge; David G. Voelz; Victor D. Shargorodsky; Valeriy V. Shevchenko; Vladimir P. Vasiliev
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Paper Abstract

For many years, the United States Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) has developed algorithms and researched methods for optical tracking and imaging space objects. This effort has been partly limited by the lack of a calibrated on- orbit 'proof' object that can be used to reliably compare predictions to observations. In 1996, AFRL scientists began discussing this problem with the Scientific Research Institute for Precision Device Engineering of the Space Device Engineering Corporation (SDEC), Moscow, Russia. SDEC's own research in this area has been similarly limited. As a result of these discussions, and as a spin-off from related research conducted under AFRL contract, SDEC has constructed a small instrument that can fulfill the role of a non-orbit proof instrument. This free-flying passive satellite, named REFLECTOR, is designed using 32 corner cube retro-reflectors on a simple aluminum frame to ensure reliable return when illuminated from any angle. It is approximately 2 m high and 1 m wide at the base with a mass of only 6 kg. The REFLECTOR satellite has been built and is scheduled for launch as a secondary payload in December 1999. Once deployed, into its near sun-synchronous orbit, it will be observable from any location on Earth. It will be possible to passively acquire and track the satellite (using reflected sunlight) with a telescope as small as 10 cm in diameter. Because the retro- reflectors on the satellite return a large signal, laser tracking and imaging experiments can be done from the ground using small, laboratory-sized lasers. REFLECTOR will provide a 'proof instrument' that will allow the U.S. Air Force and others to test various atmospheric correction techniques.

Paper Details

Date Published: 28 December 1999
PDF: 10 pages
Proc. SPIE 3870, Sensors, Systems, and Next-Generation Satellites III, (28 December 1999); doi: 10.1117/12.373214
Show Author Affiliations
Lyle G. Finkner, Boeing North American (United States)
Jerry J. Sellers, Air Force Research Lab. European Office of Aerospace Research and Development (United Kingdom)
James R. Rotge, Boeing North American (United States)
David G. Voelz, Air Force Research Lab. (United States)
Victor D. Shargorodsky, Scientific Research Institute for Precision Devices Engineering/Space Device Engineering (Russia)
Valeriy V. Shevchenko, Scientific Research Institute for Precision Devices Engineering/Space Device Engingeering (Russia)
Vladimir P. Vasiliev, Scientific Research Institute for Precision Devices Engineering/Space Device Engineering (Russia)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 3870:
Sensors, Systems, and Next-Generation Satellites III
Hiroyuki Fujisada; Joan B. Lurie, Editor(s)

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