DARPA builds space-based telescope for missile tracking

Ball Aerospace is working on a key component of a demonstration telescope under a Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) program that seeks to develop persistent, tactical, full-motion video surveillance of missile tracking from satellites in geosynchronous orbit, reports Graham Warwick at Aviation Week’s Ares Blog.

DARPA’s multiphase Membrane Optic Imager Real-Time Exploitation program would give a geosynchronous satellite the ability to unfurl a micro-thin diffractive-optics membrane that would form a massive segmented lens to identify and track Scud-class missile launches, the blog states.

Other key technologies needed for the program to achieve its goals are lightweight structures able to handle the membrane optics and hold them tightly in position, secondary optical elements that can turn the diffraction lenses into a wide-bandwidth imaging device and accurate attitude determination and control for image stabilization and geolocation, the blog states.

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