#SpaceWatchGL Coproduction: A Dragonfly Interview: The Raptor Demystified – SpaceWatch.Global

by Yvette Gonzalez, SpaceWatch.International

Berlin, April 14, 2021. Earth commentary is a vital instrument for quite a lot of industries and authorities organizations. Correct distant sensing can save money and time for various entities and enhance folks’s lives.  To boost the standard of this expertise, trade specialists are centered on instruments and assets that may guarantee the way forward for use-case has the best impression potential.

Dragonfly Aerospace goals to do exactly that.  Dragonfly Aerospace has a imaginative and prescient to create compact high-performance imaging satellites and payloads which can be designed for giant imaging constellations that present persistent views of the Earth in a variety of spectrums enabling unprecedented enterprise intelligence and bettering the lives of individuals world wide.

Their group always improves the standard of earth commentary by creating a variety of high-performance optical devices. The following step in increasing their distant sensing applied sciences is the event of next-generation with sub-meter decision.  We had a dialog with Dragonfly Aerospace CEO, Bryan Dean, and Optical Imaging System Engineer, Rikus Cronje the place they shared new particulars about the principle options of the Dragonfly microsatellite imagers and the options of their manufacturing and utility.

Dragonfly has the HR-250 imager within the new product line. Please, inform us extra about it?

Credit: Dragonfly Aerospace

Dragonfly’s HR-250 is a part of a brand new of high-performance lightweight imagers for a variety of communicational and scientific functions. The HR-250 has 11 extremely particular spectral bands with a local decision of 1.4m.  The imager gives a picture swath width of 22km extensive at 500km. Considered one of our clients will use two of those imagers aspect by aspect to create a 44km swath which will increase space protection and reduces revisit occasions for picture information.

How have you ever overcome the first points throughout the improvement of the imager? What technical options have been utilized?

The principle problem we confronted throughout the improvement of the system design was the load. Within the completed system, we used composite supplies, and the metallic elements of the development have a quite advanced form, so we had been confronted with the duty of lowering the load of your complete system as a lot as potential.

One other problematic situation was the event of alignment schemes and gadgets for assembling and adjusting the optical system. We additionally confronted problem find appropriate producers as a result of we’ve very strict specs for the parts.

What objects can this digicam see from house?

The system is able to observing objects of 1.four m and bigger from an altitude of 500km.

What forms of trade duties can the imager tackle?

For the reason that system has lots of spectral channels, it’s able to fixing an enormous variety of utilized issues within the agricultural sector, ecology, , city planning, cartography, water cowl monitoring, and extra.

What’s the lifetime of this imager?

We now have designed the imager for a lifetime of 5 years. However as a rule, such techniques are designed with a big margin so it will probably in all probability final for an extended interval.

What makes this digicam to others?

The completed imager gives a large swath, which implies that we picture a bigger space throughout a single orbit. The optical system is designed to be so simple as potential whereas technologically superior, which contributes to reliability throughout its use. The massive variety of spectral bands can be a bonus of different related techniques.

What knowledgeable the collection of this explicit set of spectral channels?

Credit: Dragonfly Aerospace

This set gives most complete info, particularly for the agricultural sector. It’s supposed to match the Sentinel-2 bands for sensor harmonisation. The Sentinel-2 photos are broadly used available in the market and this enables customers with current evaluation instruments to extend the frequency of photos and in addition use the upper decision offered by the HR-250.

What design options have been utilized?

Within the design of the system, we used numerous supplies in numerous nodes, together with composite supplies to compensate for thermal enlargement and improve system efficiency. We now have developed our personal strategies of step-by-step management of the system meeting.

Dragonfly is engaged on an improved of the HR-250, or Raptor excessive decision. What does the longer term maintain by way of technological progress?

We plan to make use of the acquired information and abilities to construct and develop bigger and extra exact techniques. Bettering the alignment schemes and gadgets will enable the alignment of extra delicate payloads. Expertise working with high-strength composite supplies will enable us to outperform bulkier and heavier design options for sub-meter optical payloads.

What a part of the design shall be taken from HR-250 and what shall be new for Raptor?

We now have designed the focal aircraft and assist electronics for the HR-250 from the start to permit it for use on the bigger Raptor imager additionally. They won’t simply be related, they’ll really be an identical! This reduces the danger for the Raptor improvement considerably as a result of this aspect shall be flight confirmed early subsequent yr with the primary flight of the HR-250. The optics of the Raptor imager shall be an improve of the HR-250 optics. There are numerous classes discovered that we will take from the HR-250 design in addition to from bigger optics that our group has designed and constructed up to now.

What new options shall be offered on Raptor in comparison with HR-250?

The principle benefit of the Raptor imager is the sub-meter decision picture efficiency in a small quantity and mass in comparison with earlier techniques of this class. The intention is to allow compact high-performance imaging satellites that may be deployed in massive numbers to create day by day very high-resolution imaging of the planet.


Dragonfly Capabilities

Dragonfly Aerospace satellites and payloads are primarily based on a 25-year heritage of parts and design strategy relationship again to the primary South microsatellite, SUNSAT, launched in 1999. SUNSAT was launched aboard a Delta II rocket from Vandenberg Base. Members of the group have labored on each microsatellite house mission since South Africa entered the house race.

Their fleet of merchandise contains creating imagers that can be utilized in a contemporary CubeSat or microsatellite platforms to create compact high-performance satellite tv for pc options. With the onset of extra accessible CubeSat choices for trade stakeholders, this know-how is important. For digicam techniques, Dragonfly is introducing the smallest earth commentary CubeSat digicam system. It’s a revolutionary answer that permits acquiring high-quality images from house. This turned potential because of the results of integrating a compact and environment friendly optomechanical design with the most recent strategy in digital design.

From their Gecko imager to their Mantis, Chameleon, and Caiman (presently beneath improvement) imagers –  their merchandise are making an easy-to-integrate imaging answer for CubeSat missions. Even customizable high-performance mass storage items that may be built-in into compact designs. Their Mantis presents multispectral and hyperspectral imaging capabilities. What does this imply for the person? Giant, built-in, high-speed information storage, and a compact issue that’s optimized for integration with 2U or massive CubeSat.

The Raptor imager, which as we discovered is a high-resolution imager for bigger microsatellites, able to attaining sub-meter decision (PAN) is a part of Dragonfly’s super-resolution microsatellite cameras.  These optical payloads are designed for exact spatial decision earth imaging and mapping for a variety of business and scientific functions.  These microsatellite cameras increase optical payload efficiency to a brand new degree of microsatellite earth commentary.  With earth commentary information, customers resembling farmers can detect vegetation circumstances. The know-how will allow them to see wholesome crops with extra chlorophyll actively take in vitality and replicate near-infrared (NIR). To get such exact information, we should use cameras with sub-meter decision.  The information collected from aerial imaging usually has a greater spatial decision. However Dragonfly’s HR-250 and the Raptor sub-meter decision imagers now incorporate this benefit into house imagery.  It has 0.7 m spatial decision and permits customers to entry detailed earth photos in addition to get extra exact mapping.

The Raptor digicam additionally covers very excessive spatial decision and permits to get detailed earth imaging and exact mapping for key civilian or safety functions.

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