Session

Pre-Conference Workshop Session 4: Advanced Concepts I - Research & Academia

Location

Utah State University, Logan, UT

Abstract

A compact imaging payload consisting of visible-near infrared and short-wave infrared capability is being developed to demonstrate low-cost wildfire monitoring among other Earth observations. Iris is a 1U multispectral push-broom imager that is capable of generating spectral data pertinent for wildfire science and wildfire risk analysis from a CubeSat platform. This payload is slated to fly on-board Ex-Alta 2, the University of Alberta’s second CubeSat and Alberta’s contribution to the Canadian CubeSat Project, to be deployed from the International Space Station in 2022. Iris features four closely integrated designs: optical, structural, electronics, and firmware. The mechanical and electronic interfaces of Iris are suited for modular integration into 1U of other generic CubeSat structures.

The design has significant constraints on mass, size, performance, and cost. The current optical design features two compact lightpaths within the housing for imaging in short-wave infrared, near-infrared, blue, and red bands (center wavelengths at 2100, 865, 490, and 665 nm, respectively). Design simulations suggest achievement of a signal-to-noise ratio greater than 20 dB across all bands and a spatial resolution of 360 mor better averaged across the field-of-view. Taken together, this demonstrates significant scientific value for minimized cost and instrument volume. This design uses exclusively commercially available lenses, providing significant overall cost savings.

The structural housing of Iris consists of 6061 T6 Aluminum, which provides a light-tight optical path for the visible to near-infrared and short-wave infrared light paths, as well as mounting for the optics and printed circuit board to the CubeSat structure within the required tolerances. A 45-degree folding mirror is employed to provide an extended optical lightpath within 1U with no deployable optics. The lens and mirror mounts are fitted with manual adjustment mechanisms for post-assembly alignment of the optical elements. This feature allows the team to perform small modifications to the axial position of the lenses as well as the folding mirror plane without having to re-manufacture the structure, saving time and cost.

Within Iris, a subsystem named Electra features a custom filtered CMV4000 CMOS detector from ams AG integrated alongside a custom filtered G11478-512WB InGaAs linear array from Hamamatsu. Electra is a custom printed circuit board which houses an Intel Cyclone V system-on-chip field-programmable gate array, 512 MB of DDR3 synchronous dynamic random-access memory, and other supporting infrastructure for controlling Iris imaging operations and handling spectral data. An in-house software and VHDL suite is implemented within Electra for sensor control, memory management, and all off-board communications. Software functionality includes data compression and a cloud detection algorithm, wherein images are ranked based on heuristic value of relative cloud content, together increasing scientific value per spacecraft link time.

A full proto-flight model of Iris is scheduled for manufacturing and testing in Q4 2021. Following manufacturing, comprehensive validation analysis and characterization will be performed, confirming ability to meet mission requirements.

Available for download on Saturday, August 07, 2021

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Aug 7th, 12:00 AM

Design of an Imaging Payload for Earth Observation from a Nanosatellite

Utah State University, Logan, UT

A compact imaging payload consisting of visible-near infrared and short-wave infrared capability is being developed to demonstrate low-cost wildfire monitoring among other Earth observations. Iris is a 1U multispectral push-broom imager that is capable of generating spectral data pertinent for wildfire science and wildfire risk analysis from a CubeSat platform. This payload is slated to fly on-board Ex-Alta 2, the University of Alberta’s second CubeSat and Alberta’s contribution to the Canadian CubeSat Project, to be deployed from the International Space Station in 2022. Iris features four closely integrated designs: optical, structural, electronics, and firmware. The mechanical and electronic interfaces of Iris are suited for modular integration into 1U of other generic CubeSat structures.

The design has significant constraints on mass, size, performance, and cost. The current optical design features two compact lightpaths within the housing for imaging in short-wave infrared, near-infrared, blue, and red bands (center wavelengths at 2100, 865, 490, and 665 nm, respectively). Design simulations suggest achievement of a signal-to-noise ratio greater than 20 dB across all bands and a spatial resolution of 360 mor better averaged across the field-of-view. Taken together, this demonstrates significant scientific value for minimized cost and instrument volume. This design uses exclusively commercially available lenses, providing significant overall cost savings.

The structural housing of Iris consists of 6061 T6 Aluminum, which provides a light-tight optical path for the visible to near-infrared and short-wave infrared light paths, as well as mounting for the optics and printed circuit board to the CubeSat structure within the required tolerances. A 45-degree folding mirror is employed to provide an extended optical lightpath within 1U with no deployable optics. The lens and mirror mounts are fitted with manual adjustment mechanisms for post-assembly alignment of the optical elements. This feature allows the team to perform small modifications to the axial position of the lenses as well as the folding mirror plane without having to re-manufacture the structure, saving time and cost.

Within Iris, a subsystem named Electra features a custom filtered CMV4000 CMOS detector from ams AG integrated alongside a custom filtered G11478-512WB InGaAs linear array from Hamamatsu. Electra is a custom printed circuit board which houses an Intel Cyclone V system-on-chip field-programmable gate array, 512 MB of DDR3 synchronous dynamic random-access memory, and other supporting infrastructure for controlling Iris imaging operations and handling spectral data. An in-house software and VHDL suite is implemented within Electra for sensor control, memory management, and all off-board communications. Software functionality includes data compression and a cloud detection algorithm, wherein images are ranked based on heuristic value of relative cloud content, together increasing scientific value per spacecraft link time.

A full proto-flight model of Iris is scheduled for manufacturing and testing in Q4 2021. Following manufacturing, comprehensive validation analysis and characterization will be performed, confirming ability to meet mission requirements.