The Air Force is looking for an inexpensive method of detecting dim orbiting objects in space.
The goal of the small business innovation research project is to develop a wide field of view system capable of quickly detecting dim objects across a large arc of space, and without the need for mechanical pointing and tracking. The system would operate at the Air Force Research Laboratory’s Starfire Optical Range, Kirtland Air Force Base, N.M., where it would to observe objects in geosynchronous equatorial or deep space orbit above 45 degrees elevation during normal sky conditions.
The system should cost less than $1 million, the Air Force said. The Air Force anticipates that “the rapidly growing ‘off-the-shelf’ technology of data bus architectures, networking and electro-optic sensors may be especially attractive to allow for affordably realizable systems.”