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A Vision of Quantitative Imaging Technology for Validation of Advanced Flight TechnologiesFlight-testing is traditionally an expensive but critical element in the development and ultimate validation and certification of technologies destined for future operational capabilities. Measurements obtained in relevant flight environments also provide unique opportunities to observe flow phenomenon that are often beyond the capabilities of ground testing facilities and computational tools to simulate or duplicate. However, the challenges of minimizing vehicle weight and internal complexity as well as instrumentation bandwidth limitations often restrict the ability to make high-density, in-situ measurements with discrete sensors. Remote imaging offers a potential opportunity to noninvasively obtain such flight data in a complementary fashion. The NASA Hypersonic Thermodynamic Infrared Measurements Project has demonstrated such a capability to obtain calibrated thermal imagery on a hypersonic vehicle in flight. Through the application of existing and accessible technologies, the acreage surface temperature of the Shuttle lower surface was measured during reentry. Future hypersonic cruise vehicles, launcher configurations and reentry vehicles will, however, challenge current remote imaging capability. As NASA embarks on the design and deployment of a new Space Launch System architecture for access beyond earth orbit (and the commercial sector focused on low earth orbit), an opportunity exists to implement an imagery system and its supporting infrastructure that provides sufficient flexibility to incorporate changing technology to address the future needs of the flight test community. A long term vision is offered that supports the application of advanced multi-waveband sensing technology to aid in the development of future aerospace systems and critical technologies to enable highly responsive vehicle operations across the aerospace continuum, spanning launch, reusable space access and global reach. Motivations for development of an Agency level imagery-based measurement capability to support cross cutting applications that span the Agency mission directorates as well as meeting potential needs of the commercial sector and national interests of the Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance community are explored. A recommendation is made for an assessment study to baseline current imaging technology including the identification of future mission requirements. Development of requirements fostered by the applications suggested in this paper would be used to identify technology gaps and direct roadmapping for implementation of an affordable and sustainable next generation sensor/platform system.
Document ID
Document Type
Conference Paper
Horvath, Thomas J.
(NASA Langley Research Center Hampton, VA, United States)
Kerns, Robert V.
(NASA Langley Research Center Hampton, VA, United States)
Jones, Kenneth M.
(NASA Langley Research Center Hampton, VA, United States)
Grinstead, Jay H.
(NASA Ames Research Center Moffett Field, CA, United States)
Schwartz, Richard J.
(Analytical Mechanics Associates, Inc. Hampton, VA, United States)
Gibson, David M.
(Johns Hopkins Univ. Laurel, MD, United States)
Taylor, Jeff C.
(Johns Hopkins Univ. Laurel, MD, United States)
Tack, Steve
(Naval Air Warfare Center Point Mugo, CA, United States)
Dantowitz, Ronald F.
(Celestial Computing Inc. Brookline, MA, US)
Date Acquired
August 25, 2013
Publication Date
June 27, 2011
Subject Category
Spacecraft Design, Testing And Performance
Report/Patent Number
AIAA Paper 2011-3325
Meeting Information
42nd AIAA Thermophysics Conference(Honolulu, HI)
Funding Number(s)
WBS: WBS 432938.
Distribution Limits
Public Use Permitted.
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