Development of a lightweight camera for high altitude platform systems

Rees, Paul C. T., Baker, Ian P., Thomson, David A., Catterall, Dean, Coleman, Martin, Jones, Martyn L. and Mitchell, John B. (2020) Development of a lightweight camera for high altitude platform systems. Optical Engineering, 59 (10). ISSN 0091-3286

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We describe the development of a lightweight, high-resolution surveillance camera for deployment on high altitude platform systems. The instrument is designed to operate at an altitude of ∼20 km and has an expected ground resolution of better than 120 mm with an appropriate sensor. While designed specifically for imaging at visible wavelengths, it is shown that the design is capable of diffraction-limited imaging at NIR and SWIR wavelengths up to 2.5 μm. We have combined a range of materials from aluminum and titanium alloys through to carbon fiber reinforced plastic to produce an instrument with structural components that match the thermal expansion of the optical glasses used. The use of these materials has resulted in an instrument that weighs <2 kg, including a sensor package, and is designed to weigh <3 kg once integrated with an enclosure and actuated gimbal. The successful testing of two prototype systems is described, including several design outcomes from the program intended for implementation in advance of flight trials.

Item Type: Article
Keywords: camera, reconnaissance, lightweight, high altitude
Divisions: Applied Science, Computing and Engineering
Depositing User: Hayley Dennis
Date Deposited: 09 Nov 2020 10:25
Last Modified: 09 Nov 2020 10:25

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