Galileo to image objects in geosynchronous orbit faster

Jan 17, 2012

Military satellites are critical sources of communications and data for today's operations environments. Through DARPA's Phoenix program, usable antennas or solar arrays from retired satellites in geosynchronous orbit (GEO – 36,000 kilometers above earth) could be removed and potentially repurposed as components for new satellites to provide vital mission support. However, identifying cooperating satellites from which to harvest an array is a difficult and lengthy task using current ground-based satellite imaging techniques. By introducing precise fiber optic controls to ground-based telescopes, this challenge may be overcome. DARPA's Galileo program seeks to bridge the precision fiber optic controls and long-baseline astronomical interferometry technical communities to enable imaging of objects in GEO faster than is possible today.

"We know the fiber optic control community is engaged in precision control of light," explained Air Force Lt. Col. Travis Blake, program manager. "If those solutions could be meshed with the unique demands of astronomic imaging, we could develop a new means of better, faster imaging of objects in GEO. We encourage experts from both technical communities to participate in Galileo's upcoming Proposers' Day."

Technology for imaging objects in space uses astronomical long-baseline interferometers, which rely on several interconnected telescopes grouped together to measure light reflections off an astronomical object as it moves across the sky. Current systems, however, can only view space objects from limited angles due to a complicated combination of evacuated light pipes—which can be several hundred feet long—turning mirrors and the active metrology required between telescopes to establish an extremely high-precision optical path.

Imaging objects in GEO is a slow process because they don't move much in the sky relative to the Earth's rotation. Galileo seeks to harness the power of precision fiber optic controls to connect astronomical interferometry telescopes via flexible fiber optics cable, removing the need for rigid light pipes. Fiber optics technology may enable a larger number of interconnected mobile telescopes, which could more quickly capture the data required of an object in GEO from multiple angles, resulting in faster image creation.

Explore further: Phone firms and the quest for the 5G Holy Grail

More information: DARPA issued a special notice today announcing the upcoming proposers' day for the Galileo program. The full special notice can be found here: www.fbo.gov/spg/ODA/DARPA/CMO/… N-12-11/listing.html

Provided by Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency

not rated yet
add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Future looks bright for interferometry

Sep 19, 2008

The PRIMA instrument of the ESO Very Large Telescope Interferometer (VLTI) recently saw "first light" at its new home atop Cerro Paranal in Chile. When fully operational, PRIMA will boost the capabilities ...

Recommended for you

The UK doesn't yet need net neutrality regulations

7 hours ago

The net neutrality debate in the US has ended, at least for now, with the Federal Communications Commission ruling for stricter regulation of telecoms and internet service providers (ISPs) in order to maintain ...

Italy adopts plans to shift into Internet fast lane

12 hours ago

Italy's government adopted a six-billion-euro plan Tuesday to modernise its Internet network and improve access to broadband in hopes of shedding its reputation as one of Europe's online laggards.

Phone firms and the quest for the 5G Holy Grail

Mar 03, 2015

Lightning-quick downloads, driverless cars and remote surgery: telecom firms are racing to develop a new generation of "5G" mobile networks that could start to change the world in five years.

Google to offer own cellular network plan

Mar 02, 2015

Google will soon be offering cellular network plans in a bid to bridge the gap between the realms of Internet services and mobile device software it dominates.

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.