Adaptive Optics and Guide Stars for SSA

| April 19, 2012 | 0 Comments

(NO AUDIO) To protect US assets in space, ground-based telescopes track approximately 12000 space objects and debris using telescopes and high power computer systems. The number of objects being tracked continues to grow each year as we become more dependent on our assets in space. Adaptive optics and laser beam guidestars enable telescope operators a clearer view of space objects from the ground in order to support robust efforts in space situational awareness (SSA). This animated video demonstrates laser guidestar technology at the Air Force Research Laboratory’s Starfire Optical Range in New Mexico. Real world, satellite images from the telescope demonstrate the differences. A baseline shows a bright blob on screen from an image captured without adaptive optics or guidestars. A fuzzy image of a satellite appears when using adaptive optics and a Rayleigh guidestar that reaches 10 to 20 kilometers above the earth’s atmosphere. When the sodium guidestar that stretches to 90 kilometers is used, experienced operators can easily identify known objects and obtain computer analysis of unknown objects. The clarity of the image improves that much. AFRL Directed Energy Directorate operates the two largest telescopes in the Department of Defense — Starfire Optical Range in New Mexico and the Air Force Maui Optical and Supercomputing Site in Hawaii. AFRL Directed Energy Directorate’s Corporate Communications Office and the Optics Division produced this video for public release


Tags: , , ,

Category: Videos

Author (Author Profile)

Comments (0)

Say Something