Document Type


Journal/Book Title/Conference

Proceedings of SPIE

Publication Date



The Distributed Sensing Experiment (DSE) program is a technology demonstration of target acquisition, tracking, and three-dimensional track development using a constellation of three micro satellites. DSE will demonstrate how micro satellites, working singly and as a group, can observe test-missile boost and ballistic-flight events. The overarching program objective is to demonstrate a means of fusing measurements from multiple sensors into a composite track. To perform this demonstration, each DSE micro satellite will acquire and track a target, determine a two-dimensional direction and movement rate for each, communicate observations to other DSE satellites, determine a three-dimensional target position and velocity, and relay this information to ground systems. A key design parameter of the program is incorporating commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) hardware and software to reduce risk and control costs, while maintaining performance. Having completed a successful Critical Design Review, the program is currently in fabrication, integration, and test phase. The constellation of satellites is scheduled for launch in CY2009. This paper describes the status and capabilities of the UV and visible sensor payloads, as well as the algorithms and software being developed to achieve the DSE mission.