NASA Goddard Space Flight Center has developed a pointing measurement detection and control system that monitors the real-time optical axis motions (such as tip and tilt) that affect image quality in aerial platforms. To date, there is no known real-time optical image alignment and control system available that simultaneously accommodates the combined focal plane functions of science image collection and image stabilization control. Current monitoring techniques involve replicating the science image focal plane and a separate pointing monitor system that directly compete for the exact same focal plane real estate, thus making it a one-or-the-other measurement.

This technology enables correction of image degradation introduced by tip and tilt motions. This system operates in both the visible and IR spectral regions, can be adapted to different optical systems, and does not require any special manufacturing processes or materials.

This innovative measurement approach utilizes a single 2D focal plane detector array to collect the necessary science measurement image data while at the same time collecting the engineering optical axis motion detection and image control information. The innovation utilizes a standardized “windowing” electronic control function to read out a single column (1D array) within a 2D spectrometer system while the readout and control of the remaining 2D array columns are controlled by separate and independent control electronics.

NASA is actively seeking licensees to commercialize this technology. For more information, contact the Goddard Strategic Partnerships Office at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 301-286-5810. Follow this link here  for more information.

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This article first appeared in the December, 2018 issue of Tech Briefs Magazine.

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