A Compact Lightweight Infrared Imaging Interferometer for Space-Based Platforms

Period of Performance: 08/19/2014 - 11/15/2016


Phase 2 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Hart Scientific Consulting International
6135 N. Tucson Mountain Dr.
Tucson, AZ 85743
Principal Investigator


ABSTRACT: Research Objectives: 1) Quantify the size, weight, power consumption and cost of flight units of the Space-based InfraRed Imaging Interferometer (SIRII) sensor. 2) Quantify the fundamental advantages of the interferometric approach in comparison to conventional sensor design. 3) Quantify the impact of disadvantages of the interferometer. 4) Establish the steps required to mature the design to a flight unit in Phase III, and the additional cost and schedule required to get there. Technical Approach: Construct a full-scale prototype of the SIRII sensor in light-weight composite materials using a low-cost SWIR focal plane array. Validate manufacturing techniques, assembly tooling and procedures, and test methodology. Demonstrate performance of the prototype. Through detailed modeling and analysis anchored by measurements from the prototype, establish expected on-orbit performance in fulfillment of the sensor s primary mission, as well as any enhancements to the design required for flight hardware. In addition, investigate the use of the SIRII design in other applications: from space (e.g. Space Situational Awareness (SSA), in particular within the GEO belt, forest fire detection, agricultural water and crop management) and from airborne platforms (e.g. anti-access/area denial, smuggling interdiction). BENEFIT: Anticipated Impact and Outcome: The primary mission of the SIRII sensor is the detection of missile plumes from orbit. For that purpose, the Phase I study has shown that application of the principles of optical interferometry has both practical and performance advantages over conventional sensor designs. The main outcomes of the Phase II work will be a quantitative demonstration of those advantages in prototype hardware, and a sound understanding of the cost, time, and effort required to proceed to a fully qualified flight system. The overall structure of the SBIR program, including the breakout to commercial products in Phase III, is summarized in Figure 1. SIRII is to be commercialized for defense and civil security applications.