FLIGHT QUALIFICATION OF A TERAHERTZ IMAGING CAMERA AS A CUBESAT PAYLOAD
Kline, Sarah J.
Newman, James H.
Lan, Wenschel D.
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This thesis builds on the existing research of the Sensor Research Laboratory and the Space Systems Academic Group (SSAG) at the Naval Postgraduate School (NPS) to integrate an 80-micron terahertz (THz) imaging camera (TIC) as a CubeSat payload. This research investigates the potential utility of THz imaging and long-wave infrared (IR) imaging at room-temperature (20°C) cooling for applications of national interest like space situational awareness (SSA). Long-wave IR imaging capability already exists, and typically requires a large cryocooler to maintain cryogenic temperatures (3–70 K); efficient IR imaging at room temperature is an emerging technology. Additionally, this thesis examines the integration and test effort associated with flight qualifying the TIC engineering development unit (EDU) onto the SSAG-developed High Altitude Balloon (HAB) bus. This thesis contributes to the overall objective of integrating and flight qualifying the TIC as a payload compatible with a variety of buses. Integrating and testing the TIC EDU on a CubeSat attains focused research objectives of national interest and supports Department of Defense Space efforts in the utilization of very small satellites.
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