Imaging Technology (U)
(U) The Imaging Technology Thrust involves the development and transition of multi-spectral sensing and image processing technologies for high resolution imaging applications. This Thrust takes advantage of adaptive optics and target acquisition/tracking technologies developed under the Beam Control Thrust to produce a compensated, stabilized image which can then be further improved with advanced imaging sensors and post-processing of the image. Advanced concepts which can reconstruct images from interferometric or speckle data are also being pursued.
(U) The Imaging thrust includes the successful FY95 ABLE ACE experiments which were designed to obtain critical optical measurements of high altitude atmospheric turbulence for the Airborne Laser (ABL). Data was taken which measured scintillation, isoplanatic patch sizes, and wavefront distortion, and correlated the measurements to turbulence strength conditions.
(U) Dynamic tracking tests, using real ballistic missiles in the boost phase as the targets, was conducted at the White Sands Missile Range (WSMR) during FY96 and FY97. These demonstrate concepts for ABL active tracking, including the demonstration of initial passive acquisition of the boosting missile, hand-off to active tracking of the missile body, tracking signal-to-noise, and tracking algorithms.
(U) The overall goals of the Imaging Thrust are to develop and transition advanced optical systems and multi-spectral sensing technologies for tactical and/or strategic applications to meet user needs in the areas of quality optical imagery and remote sensing. Specific goals include:
1. (U) develop active imaging techniques to obtain images of Low Earth Orbit (LEO) objects, and extend these technologies to reach deep space or Geosynchronous objects;
2. (U) develop technologies for compensated range, lightweight space optics, scene based wave front sensing, electro-optical adaptive optics and on-board image processing;
3. (U) develop passive imaging techniques to obtain images of LEO objects, and extend these technologies to reach deep space or Geosynchronous objects;
4. (U) develop advanced electro-optical devices to support other Air Force missions, including long range laser target designators, optical reconnaissance and surveillance of chemical and biological weapons in production or in use on the battlefield;
5. (U) develop nonlinear optical systems to automatically correct for dynamic optical errors introduced by the atmosphere, and to correct for static errors to very large diameter, light-weight, deployable primary mirrors on imaging satellites; and
6. (U) provide information to the users.
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Date Of Information (U):
(U) 21 November 1997
(U) Road Map Production Date: 12 July 1999