SeaSalt Optical Calibrator
Inventors: Paul Fucile
Intellectual Property: Patent Pending
Overview: CubeSats and other smaller payload satellites in space-based operations are becoming more common - CubeSats are more accessible, smaller, lighters, and generally more affordable. However, the smaller satellites are more susceptible to the space environment. One of the main challenges encountered before and during operations is device calibration. Most optical calibrators, including infrared, require calibrations before and during use. Proper calibrations assist the detector to produce accurate images, and without it, pixel non-uniformities disrupt the image and create unrecognizable images. Typical calibration methods are performed over a range of temperatures using a heater. These calibration sources project energy onto a reflective surface, but these surfaces degrade over time in the space environment and are expensive for low-budget satellites.
Technology: The SeaSalt Optical Calibrator is a low-cost, compact, user-friendly calibrator designed for in-orbit calibration for small satellites. The device calibrates the thermal cameras on the satellite periodically to maintain internal temperatures and helps limit degradation compared to the degradation exposed calibration devices experienced in harsh space environments.