Image courtesy of MSNBC & Ralf Vandebergh
Russian military space forces informed Russian news agencies on Wednesday, fragments of Russia’s stranded Mars probe Phobos-Grunt could fall to Earth on January 15.
So will DARPA’s new space telescope be reading alien news prints in a Galaxy far far away? Ok well maybe not that good but, you can bet the DARPA-developed Space Surveillance Telescope (SST) is going to give us data we’ve never had access to before.
“The SST will give us in a matter of nights eh space surveillance data that current telescopes take weeks of months to provide,” explained Air Force Lt. Col. Travis Blake, DARPA’s Space Surveillance Telescope program manager.
Beyond providing faster data collection, the SST is very sensitive to light, which allows it to see faint objects in deep space that currently are impossible to observe.
The detection and tracking of faint objects requires a large aperture and fast optics. The SST uses a 3.5 meter primary mirror, which is large enough to achive the desired sensitivity.
|Space Surveillance Telescope
The system is an f/1.0 optical design, with a large-area mosaic CC camera constructed from curved imagers and a high-speed shutter allowing for fast scanning at the high sensitivity.
Some of the missions the SST would be assigned to would be watching for debris in low earth orbit to help avoid satellite collisions, tracking objects in deep space and taking wide-angle pictures of stars and comets for astronomers.
The SST achieved “first light” meaning the college of its first images, earlier this year DARPA’s SST demonstration phase will contine to test and prove system functions and autonomous operations for detecting dim objects. DARPA’s primary performers for the SST are the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Lincold Laboratories and L-3 Brashear Corporation.
Sources: TGDaily, Networkworld, DARPA