Space imagers are a fast growing group of high-end electro-optical imaging systems. They can be treated as a special type of long range imagers. Great majority of space imagers are VIS-NIR cameras sensitive in visible and near infrared range.However, space imagers in form of SWIR imagers or thermal imagers (mostly MWIR imagers) are becoming increasingly popular.
Space imagers are imagers intended to work in space at extreme conditions: 1)vacuum, 2)extreme temperatures. Therefore imaging performance tests of space imagers can be divided into three stages:
- Tests at typical laboratory conditions (normal air pressure, ambient temperature about 20ºC),
- Tests at extreme temperatures (tests at typical temperature chambers),
- Tests at space simulation conditions (tests at special vacuum/temperature chambers).
Inframet can deliver test systems for all three test
levels of tests of space imagers.
Systems for Level 1 tests are modified versions of Inframet typical systems for testing electro-optical imagers (thermal imagers, VIS-NIR cameras, SWIR imagers) at mainly laboratory conditions. Systems for Level 2 tests are typically built as a systems composed from a Level 1 test system and a special translucent temperature chamber where the tested imager is inserted. Systems for Level 3 tests are very special and rarely built customized image projectors capable to work both at vacuum and at extreme temperatures without noticeable degradation of image quality of projected image.
Modified TVT systems for testing VIS-NIR cameras specified at https://www.inframet.com/tv_cameras.htm are most popular systems manufactured by Inframet for testing space imagers (sold under SAT-TVT name). There are three main modifications of SAT-TVT systems comparing to typical TVT systems:
- Improved manufacturing accuracy of mirror used for off axis reflective collimators (needed to assure ultra high quality of projected images),
- Improved accuracy of infinity focusing (critical parameter for testing non-focusing space imagers of long focal lenght)
- Light source calibrated for work in a series of both broadband and narrow band modes in VIS-NIR band (systems can be use for testing both imagers for surveillance applications and remote sensing applications).
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