The utility of airborne remote observation of hypersonic reentry vehicles was demonstrated by the NASA Hypersonic Thermodynamic Infrared Measurement (HYTHIRM) project. High spatial resolution infrared imagery was collected using available technology manned aircraft. This IR imagery was used to infer surface temperature and boundary layer transition. To increase effectiveness of the data collection, an unmanned air vehicle (UAV) platform is desired. The ideal platform would entail a "smart sensor payload" with the UAV designed around it. Developing such a system will require technological advances in several disciplines. In Phase-I system performance requirements will be established based on desired science objectives. Current state of the art technology will be utilized to define a baseline UAV and assess technology gaps and areas where technological advancement is most effective. A light weight, narrow field of view multispectral / hyperspectral imaging system a is key area of where innovative development is required. A hardware / software flight demonstration will be designed for execution during Phase-II.More »
Development of a light weight narrow field of view (NFOV) multispectral plus hyperspectral imaging system provides the ability to remotely observe hypersonic reentry vehicles. The observations can be used to accurately extract local skin temperature during peak heating, recognize anomalies, and recommend a course of action to avoid catastrophic failure. During boost phase, the spectral measurements can be used to detect the presence of metal contaminants in the exhaust plume. Metallic emission is an indication of component wear and early indication of potential engine failure.
In addition to supporting NASA's next generation Space Launch System, the proposed technology could be utilized by the DoD in support of the Reusable Booster System (RBS). In addition, the light weight optical system flown on a UAV could be utilized by MDA for tracking missile enemy missile launches for extreme range to close the fire control loop.
|Organizations Performing Work
|Opto-Knowledge Systems, Inc. (OKSI) (OKSI)
|John Hopkins University / Applied Physics Lab
|Langley Research Center (LaRC)