Just how far can one shrink an extreme ultraviolet (EUV) imager??? — Can it shrink it to a CubeSat/Small-Sat form-factor??? Or perhaps more to the point… Can one image — successfully — Heliospheric/Planetary/Solar targets from a CubeSat? Given the technical challenges of maintaining optical sensitivity, thermal control and radiation hardening… perhaps the more vexing question is… Can one design an EUV imager — miniaturized specifically for CubeSat implementation — that is applicable to multiple scientific objectives?
We believe that the “answer” is a resounding Yes!!! To that end, we believe that we are in the unique position to develop a compact, CubeSat-based EUV imager based upon a commercially–available prototype low-light level camera. The resulting Extreme Ultraviolet Imager – Compact (EUVIC) will capable of either making observations of the Sun and solar corona, planetary OH-emission based, or observations of Earth’s plasmasphere, using the same camera/detector system with the only difference lying in the target-dependent front-end lens/telescopic system employed.
We propose solely to calibrate/evaluate the NightVista® M711 Low Light Level Camera as the baseline detector of the EUVIC. A NightVista® M711 Camera has already been procured through a previous effort. The EUVIC team will design and implement an appropriate [prototype] comm-interface as well as design, fabricate and implement the necessary mechanical interfaces to mount the M711 camera onto a UV-source calibration chamber — the EUNIS calibration chamber. We will test NightVista® M711 Camera under vacuum and then test/validate the efficiency/sensitivity of the camera to a range of EUV wavelengths. The effort will also test/validate the uniformity of — i.e., “flat-field” — the detector. The resulting data set will then used to baseline the viability of implementing this commercially available camera/detector for heliospheric/planetary/solar imaging applications.
Considerations for radiation hardening and environment testing of the NightVista® M711 Low Light Level Camera will be differed to future/follow-on IRAD proposal efforts, provided that the existing camera displays the necessary spectral response and flat-fielding characteristics desired.More »
The resulting validated [commercially available off-the-shelf (COTS)] low-light camera will serve as the baseline detector of a new class of compact EUV-imagers. The resource requirements of EUVIC are, by their very nature, compatible with implementation on a CubeSat.
The solution to developing a compact, CubeSat-based EUV imager is to exploit the advantages of a prototype, commercially available, back-illuminated CMOS anode, low-light level camera — the Intevac Photonics NightVista® M711 Low Light Level Camera — a camera that requires no thermal control. Numerous advantages to exploiting this approach exist, including:
* Minimal technical risk since the bulk of the camera development is complete;
* CubeSat compatible dimensions and power requirements;
* Use of a CMOS detector is advantageous since it:
— Avoids the need for active thermal control required by a CCD detector;
— Provides stable detection in radiation environments; and finally
* Has a predicted QE > 40% from 2–600Å (soft X-ray to EUV wavelengths).
With EUVIC in hand — coupled with intelligently designed front-end lens/telescopic system — an EUVIC could easily be deployed on a “mission of opportunity” — such as one of the numerous CubeSat missions currently under development. The prototype EUVIC will serve as the basis of a dedicated plasmaspheric imager — a critical and keystone instrument of a future, EXploration of PLasmasphere and Ionosphere Coupling InTeraction (EXPLICIT) MIDEX mission concept under development.More »
|Organizations Performing Work||Role||Type||Location|
|Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC)||Lead Organization||NASA Center||Greenbelt, MD|