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If a satellite being used to spot camouflaged weapons systems was suddenly knocked offline, allied personnel in the field would immediately be in greater danger. The outage would be followed by a scramble for answers: Was the satellite damaged by debris or an act of sabotage? Could its functionality be restored or is the capability lost?
The most viable option for a quick assessment – pointing a high-power telescope at the satellite – would likely provide little more than blurred images. However, the Air Force and a small business partner may have solved that problem as part of a larger contribution to space situational awareness.
With support from the Air Force Small Business Innovation Research/Small Business Technology Transfer Program, Arizona-based Hart Scientific Consulting International LLC developed a software code that greatly improves the ability of large ground-based telescopes to see satellites in space. By applying this technology to the satellite that went offline, for example, analysts would be able to see key features of the spacecraft and more quickly diagnose the issue.
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