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Fields of View

SBSS was launched in September 2010, and has an expected orbital life of at least five-and-a-half years. EO sensors have also improved with regard to fields QuickBird, an implementation of the Ball of view and image resolution quality, noted Lafe Redd, Aerospace Global Imaging System 2000, provides director of engineering at General Dynamics Global 1-meter class panchromatic and 4-meter class multiImaging Technologies. “Through the use of high-end, spectral imagery over a broad area. A constellation of broadcast-grade technologies in our EO solutions, we three satellites owned and operated by DigitalGlobe, have been able to better and more effectively meet our it is also used by the U.S. military. Ball Aerospace customers’ evolving mission requirements,” he said. designed and fabricated the 61-centimeter imaging “The integration of our EO sensors into our four- and Lon Celmer instrument. five-axis gyro-stabilized camera systems provides pre“The imaging system returns high-resolution cision pointing and stability at long-range for superior earth imagery from space,” said Barnes. “The system collects pantarget identification.” chromatic and multispectral stereoscopic data over a large field of Highly stable structures, which provide stability under varying view with rapid target selection.” environmental conditions, are also contributing to advances in EO The data is used for military surveillance, as well as such civil technology. “Structures made from graphite epoxy and silicon carbide applications as mapping, agricultural, urban planning and weather offer high stability under varying thermal conditions, either on orbit research. or on aircraft,” said Barnes. “State-of-the-art beryllium-based optics BAE Systems provides the Autonomous Real-Time Ground are also very light weight.” Ubiquitous Surveillance Imaging System (ARGUS-IS) persistent surThese advances in EO sensors enable persistent surveillance of an veillance products, including sensors and airborne processors. BAE extended area of coverage at very high resolution. “Better instantaSystems equipment aboard ARGUS-IS, which was first tested aboard neous field of view allows for greater stand-off range, enabling a platan Army Black Hawk helicopter, consists of a high-resolution, wideform to maintain higher altitude and cover a larger area while still area, real-time video sensor, an on-board processing system and capturing quality high-resolution images,” said Redd. “This capabilground processing. The system was originally funded through conity provides the mission planner with more flexibility, increasing situtracts with the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency and the ational awareness and improving response time.” Air Force Research Laboratory. “Higher-performing systems pack an extremely large number of Earlier wide-area systems had either inadequate resolution or arrays into the sensor package, so that the system can persistently required multiple passes to get updates, noted Wein. “Very high-resstare at all of the area, all of the time, with both high resolution and Johan Hansson olution imaging systems required for vehicle and dismount tracking higher frame-rates,” said Wein. “Pixel pitches of a decade ago would typically have a soda-straw view that is too small for persistent coverhave created focal plane sizes that would be completely unmanageage,” he said. “The ARGUS-IS system overcomes these limitations.” able. Having extremely small pixels allows the system designer to General Dynamics’ wies camera systems provide real-time sitpackage all of these pixels into a reasonable size assembly.” uational awareness and long-range threat detection, noted Redd. Decreased pixel pitches and smaller focal planes have translated “V-Series camera systems help detect and identify entities and deterinto the ability to create smaller payloads without loss of capability, mine if a threat is hostile,” he said. “We are able to deliver COTS noted Johan Hansson, vice president for marketing and sales at Saab V-Series systems or custom-developed systems integrating missionNorth America. “Advances have been made just in the last couple of specific payloads.” years, with smaller payloads providing improved quality of image,” he Payload options include infrared sensors and lasers, and optional said. “This means you may use a smaller gimbal. Anything that fits system features that include GeoPointing and auto tracking. into a smaller envelope at a lighter weight with the same quality is great for us on the air frame side.” Saab North America is the maker of the small Skeldar, a rotary Activity-Based Intel wing unmanned aircraft. The Skeldar’s ability to hover or fly at low speeds benefits the collection of data from some types of sensors. Today’s EO technology facilitates persistent surveillance senAlso contributing to the advancements in EO technology, noted sors that can monitor areas up to the size of a medium-sized city Hansson, is advanced software that addresses vibration and enhances for extended periods of time. Because this generates large voland improves the resulting images. umes of data, on-board or other local processing of that data is useful in providing quick alerts to analysts, planners, commanders and warfighters. Space Surveillance “If a pattern of activity changes from the norm at a certain location, there might be something of interest occurring at that location,” Ball Aerospace has been providing EO sensors and instruments said Wein. “The airborne processor can detect the unusual activity for military applications for over 50 years, including the visible senand alert the user. The airborne system would then automatically sor payload for the Air Force Space Based Space Surveillance System start streaming live video of that location and also stream video on(SBSS), which provides constant space situational awareness on-orbit demand that plays back events leading up to that moment in time.” data collection. These kinds of functions are performed by BAE’s activity-based “SBSS is a space-based sensor with the ability to detect and track intelligence (ABI) system. “We believe ABI will be a critical processspace objects, spacecraft or other distant objects without interfering layer to be used in conjunction with persistent surveillance in the ence from weather, atmosphere or time of day,” said Barnes. “Ball future,” said Wein. Aerospace’s sensor allows for accurate determination of space objects.”

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