Lockheed Martin has unveiled a first set of images captured by an experimental ultra-thin optical instrument as the company aims to demonstrate the possibility of reducing the size and weight of space telescopes.
Segmented Planar Imaging Detector for Electro-Optical Reconnaissance generated a standard bar test pattern and an overhead view of a rail yard with an optical technology designed to simulate image distance from space to the ground, Lockheed said Thursday.
SPIDER originated from a Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency-funded research project and the company completed the next phase of the project at its Advanced Technology Center.
“Our goal is to replicate the same performance of a space telescope in an instrument that is about an inch thick,” said Scott Fouse, vice president of Lockheed’s ATC.
The company noted SPIDER weighs approximately 90 percent less than traditional telescopes uses tiny lenses originally designed to support telecommunications at the University of California, Davis, according to Lockheed.
Lockheed envisions the potential applications of lightweight sensor technology in aircraft and other vehicles.