Raytheon Technologies’ intelligence and space business is investing in the development of new capabilities that could help reduce the size and mass of future Earth observation satellites and improve the quality of land imaging data.
One of those technologies is the Advanced Technology Land Imaging Spectroradiometer or ATLIS, a prototype instrument that is much smaller and lighter than other imagers, the company said Thursday.
“Using advanced technology, we’re able to shrink the large telescope on imagers, making the overall instrument smaller and more affordable,” said Jeff Puschell, principal engineering fellow for space and C2 systems at Raytheon Intelligence & Space.
Raytheon engineers also developed a full-spectrum calibration system prototype called Improved Radiometric Calibration of Land Imaging Systems, which can help enhance image quality and reduce the power, weight and size requirements by about 30 percent.
“The calibration system takes up a large amount of space,” said Puschell. “In order to make imagers smaller, the calibration systems also need to be smaller. And that’s what we’re doing with IRIS – the calibration system will eliminate roughly 90 percent of that volume, resulting in a much smaller imager size.”
Raytheon’s work on the technologies comes as NASA and the U.S. Geological Survey observe the 22nd year of Landsat 7 in orbit and prepare to launch the Landsat 9 satellite by fall and Landsat NeXt in the late 2020s.