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Center Independent Research & Development: GSFC IRAD

Towards a Structure and Function of Ecosystems (SAFE) Smallsat Constellation

Active Technology Project

Project Introduction

This project will develop the scientific and technical underpinnings of a SmallSat  constellation to make high-spatial resolution measurements of forest structure.  The bulk of the effort of this project is high resolution imaging processing development, 2) optical design, and 3) Science Traceability Matrix and project concept development. Objectives 1 and 2 are needed to overcome diffraction limit issues of SmallSat-sized telescopes to get to the required resolution.  This project builds upon a recent Science Innovation Fund project to inform technical requirements for a SmallSat high spatial resolution instrument to measure vegetation structure and scene shadow fraction.

Our approach utilizes the well established stereogrammetric analyses now being used in a variety of scientific applications. This requires high resolution stereo image data in order to produce the point clouds that characterize the 3D canopy structure, This information can then be used in simple models to estimate location and fraction of scene shadows. While simple in concept the practical development of a low cost, high resolution instrument is challenging.  We will explore the possibility of free-form optics plus super resolution software approaches for this instrument concept. We also will develop a science traceability matrix by providing technical capabilities in light of science requirements.

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