Range monitoring and launch tracking are critical components of space exploration because of their implications on safety, cost, and the overall mission timeline. NASA’s Kennedy Space Center maintains a series of high-definition video cameras to observe rockets being prepared on their launch pads and to follow them from take-off through initial ascent.
When imaging over long distances, particularly in hot and humid conditions, atmospheric turbulence corrupts the video captured. In order to expedite range clearance, it is vital to have a clear picture of the launch area. The same problems arise when attempting to track rockets throughout launch, where atmospheric effects can become even more pronounced. As distances between the camera and flying rocket grow, atmospheric turbulence continues to increase, further degrading image quality.
EM Photonics was commissioned to build a custom device based on our ATCOM technology to enhance the video collected by the high-definition, mission-tracking cameras at Kennedy Space Center. This system included HD-SDI inputs and outputs and the ability to enhance video streams in real time.