DORA - Deployable Optics for Remote sensing Applications

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MIUR - PON “Research & Innovation”/PNR 2015-2020

The objective of the DORA Proposal is to study a Deployable Optical system for Remote Sensing application in the VIS and IR spectral ranges (cameras, imaging spectrometers, Fourier spectrometers, etc.). Similar deployable systems can be used for antennas used in microwave instrumentations (SAR, radiometers, etc.).The range of applications of such optomechanical technologies, in a space environment and onboard small satellites, are potentially very wide extending from Earth Observation satellites, used for environmental monitoring and for risk management, to Solar System exploration missions.There is a considerable advantage in using deployable systems onboard small satellites as these have considerable limitations in some of the resources, mainly mass and volume. The identification of payloads capable of minimising resources usage at launch, still guaranteeing in flight performances analogues to those of more “expensive”, in terms of resources, instruments is an extremely valuable benefit.The capability of using deployable telescopes allows to access scientific objectives and applications otherwise difficult to reach. In this study we will design, realise and test the prototype of a telescope, which uses a mechanical system for its deployment in the operative phase. To demonstrate the capability of using this telescope for Earth Observations the deployable optical system will be interfaced to an infrared Fourier spectrometer, already designed and built (TRL=5) for the ExoMars mission, which will be re-designed to be adapted for its use in an Earth Observation mission. In fact, remote sensing payload in the VIS/IR is strongly handicapped by the limited resources available onboard a mini-satellite which limits the size of the primary mirror, thus resulting in reduced performances in terms of spatial resolution and signal to noise ratio.Precision-deployable, stable, optical benches that fit inside smaller, lower cost launch vehicles and small platform are a prime example of a technology that will yield breakthrough benefits for future scientific as well as more commercially oriented applications.Another important part of the study will be the detailed analysis of a small space platform, which will contain the above payload and will carry out a mission devoted to environmental monitoring."

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