DARPA Designs Satellite Capable of Surveying 40% of Earth

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The US Department of Defense has designed a next-generation satellite capable of observing 40 percent of the Earth. A lightweight telescope created using polymer membrane optics and developed by Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp. was demonstrated for DARPA. ( DARPA) The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency has developed the revolutionary satellite called The Membrane Optical Imager for Real-Time Exploitation’ (MOIRE) is made up of 18 octagonal mirrors.

DARPA Designs Satellite Capable of Surveying 40 of Earth

The MOIRE program began in March 2010 is now in the first phase of development, where DARPA is testing the concept’s viability. Phase 2 would entail system design, with Ball Aerospace doing the design and building to test a 16-foot (5 m) telescope, and an option for a Phase 3 which would include a demonstration of the system, launching a 32-foot (10 m) telescope for flight tests in orbit.

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Instead of reflecting light with mirrors or refracting it with lenses as traditional space telescopes do, MOIRE’s membrane — roughly the thickness of kitchen plastic wrap — optics diffract light.
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This is a prototype full lens of the MOIRE satellite.

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