satellite in space

Satellites are monitored by ground-based telescopes that record reflected sunlight or, in very advanced systems, laser light.  Telescope images are often unresolved, so the satellite appears as a small disk, or only partially resolved, depending on the orbit. Accurate and consistent interpretation of telescope images relies on rendering models based on the reflectance of the constituent materials.  Laboratory reflectance measurements of satellite materials are used in rendering programs based on optical ray-tracing, but many materials change in space environments, due to ionizing radiation, differently than in the atmosphere.

control vs aged graphs

The effects of space-aging on material reflectances are not well understood, and in rendering programs reflectances are changed ad hoc in attempts to account for aging, which obfuscates actual material aging as well as basic deficiencies in the rendering programs.  While sometimes termed photorealistic, ray-tracing is geometrical and generally not radiometrically accurate for 3D objects.  AOT has used extended-range atomic-force microscopy (AFM) to characterize space-aged materials and model corresponding reflectance changes using physical non-geometrical reflectance models, ensuring consistency of satellite rendering models with aging mechanisms.

Go to Material Characterization Go to Optical Signature Databases

Tracking space objects from their orbits is a tedious task with high uncertainty.  Utilizing material features can increase the efficiency and confidence of space-object classification for tracking and assessment.  Classifiers key on satellite materials with unique signatures in either resolved or unresolved imagery.

If you want to understand the signature space of your scenario or have an existing polarimeter to optimize, AOT can provide unique optical signature databases.

Go to Field Polarimeters Go to Optical Signature Databases

Multi-channel illumination, video, and communication links are available with long-range pointing stability.

Go to Free-Space Multiplexers

How can AOT help you?

Send us a message and we will get back to you within two business days.

Contact Us