Miniature Sensor Technology Integration-3

Miniature Sensor Technology Integration-3 (MSTI-3) is an experimental satellite that will collect data in the short wave infrared (SWIR) and medium wave infrared (MWIR) bands. MSTI-3 will survey the Earth collecting data to support analysis of ground features, such as terrain and bodies of water, and atmospheric features, such as clouds and aurora. This analysis will determine how the appearance of these features in the infrared varies with season, time of day, and aspect angle. This basic research supports the design of infrared Earth observation satellites. Space and Missile Systems Center, Los Angeles Air Force Base, Calif., manages the MSTI-3 program. The Space Experiments Directorate of the Phillips Laboratory at Kirtland Air Force Base, N.M., implements the program through its Edwards Air Force Base, Calif. and Hanscom Air Force Base, Mass. offices.

The MSTI-3 satellite has three instruments: an SWIR camera, an MWIR camera, and a visible wedge spectrometer camera. All of the instruments share a single telescope. Each infrared camera has seven filters. The visible wedge spectrometer camera provides comparison data to verify observations made by the infrared cameras.

Phillips Laboratory, Spectrum Astro, Incorporated of Gilbert, Ariz., and Wyle Laboratories of El Segundo, Calif. designed and built the satellite bus. Science Applications International Corporation of San Diego, Calif. designed and built the satellite payload. Phillips Laboratory integrated and tested the bus and payload. The satellite weighs 466 pounds, including fuel.

Orbital Sciences Corporation of Dulles, Va., will launch MSTI-3 on the air-launched Pegasus booster. The L-1011 aircraft carrying Pegasus will take-off from Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif. and launch the Pegasus off the coast of Monterey, Calif., placing MSTI-3 into a 290 x 375 kilometer elliptical near-polar orbit of 97 inclination. MSTI-3 will use its thrusters to lift itself to the final 425-kilometer circular orbit. MSTI-3 was designed to operate for one year.

Detachment 2, Space and Missile Systems Center, Onizuka Air Force Station, Calif. will control MSTI-3 through the Air Force Satellite Control Network. Anser Corporation of Arlington, Va., performs mission planning and data processing at their Alexandria, Va. facility. They also operate a downlink site near Fairbanks, Alaska to receive the large amount of data produced by MSTI-3.


(Current as of May 1996)

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