Despun rocket borne imager: Design aspects of a space based optical imaging instrument for auroral studies

Ellis, Armin T.; Lessard, Marc R.; Bartel, Paul; Disbrow, Mike; Riley, Paul
April 2006
Review of Scientific Instruments;Apr2006, Vol. 77 Issue 4, p045112
Academic Journal
Imaging the aurora from space is scientifically rewarding since understanding the fluctuations in conjunction with other parameters measured along the magnetic field line of interest can resolve ambiguities regarding the nature of the emissions as well as provide a context for the emissions. Typical payloads launched on sounding rockets for auroral studies are spin stabilized, which imply that standard imaging techniques cannot be used due to severe blurring. The despun rocket borne imager is a simple instrumentation concept that uses a Dove prism to counter the rotation effects of the spinning platform and thus produce images without blurring. This technique has been applied to two instruments flown on sounding rockets with varying optical properties needed to address specific scientific queries. This article discusses the design of both of these instruments and includes the necessary considerations for a generic instrument for future projects.


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