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Open AccessArticle

Infrared Optical Observability of an Earth Entry Orbital Test Vehicle Using Ground-Based Remote Sensors

by Qinglin Niu 1,2, Xiaying Meng 1,2, Zhihong He 2 and Shikui Dong 1,2,*
1
Key Laboratory of Aerospace Thermophysics of Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, Harbin Institute of Technology, 92 West Dazhi Street, Harbin 150001, China
2
School of Energy Science and Engineering, Harbin Institute of Technology, 92 West Dazhi Street, Harbin 150001, China
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Remote Sens. 2019, 11(20), 2404; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs11202404
Received: 9 September 2019 / Revised: 12 October 2019 / Accepted: 13 October 2019 / Published: 16 October 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Remote Sensing for Target Object Detection and Identification)
Optical design parameters for a ground-based infrared sensor rely strongly on the target’s optical radiation properties. Infrared (IR) optical observability and imaging simulations of an Earth entry vehicle were evaluated using a comprehensive numerical model. Based on a ground-based IR detection system, this model considered many physical mechanisms including thermochemical nonequilibrium reacting flow, radiative properties, optical propagation, detection range, atmospheric transmittance, and imaging processes. An orbital test vehicle (OTV) was selected as the research object for analysis of its observability using a ground-based infrared system. IR radiance contours, maximum detecting range (MDR), and thermal infrared (TIR) pixel arrangement were modeled. The results show that the distribution of IR radiance is strongly dependent on the angle of observation and the spectral band. Several special phenomena, including a strong receiving region (SRR), a characteristic attitude, a blind zone, and an equivalent zone, are all found in the varying altitude MDR distributions of mid-wavelength infrared (MWIR) and long-wavelength infrared (LWIR) irradiances. In addition, the possible increase in detectivity can greatly improve the MDR at high altitudes, especially for the backward and forward views. The difference in the peak radiance of the LWIR images is within one order of magnitude, but the difference in that of the MWIR images varies greatly. Analyses and results indicate that this model can provide guidance in the design of remote ground-based detection systems. View Full-Text
Keywords: ground-based detection; infrared imaging; observability; detecting distance; earth entry vehicle ground-based detection; infrared imaging; observability; detecting distance; earth entry vehicle
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MDPI and ACS Style

Niu, Q.; Meng, X.; He, Z.; Dong, S. Infrared Optical Observability of an Earth Entry Orbital Test Vehicle Using Ground-Based Remote Sensors. Remote Sens. 2019, 11, 2404.

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