Next Generation Image Restoration for Space Situational Awareness
Final rept. Mar 2006-Mar 2009
HAWAII UNIV HONOLULU
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The imaging of Earth-orbiting objects using large aperture telescopes equipped with adaptive optics is a critical component of Space Situational Awareness. Unfortunately, due to limitations in the adaptive optics, compensation of the wave-front distortions imparted by the Earths turbulent atmosphere is incomplete. Achieving the quality of imagery necessary for high confidence monitoring of the near space environment, therefore requires the use of image restoration methods to remove the unconnected component of the image blur. We have developed a novel blind image restoration algorithm for use with data obtained under a wide range of imaging modalities, including long-exposure diversity imaging. By capitalizing on new forms of prior information, and improving the synergy between the data acquisition and image restoration processes, we have significantly extended the observing conditions under which we can produce high-fidelity restorations with a high dynamic range. These improvements enable two new capabilities for the Air Forces 3-meter class telescopes the imaging of faint targets, such as micro-satellites in geosynchronous orbit, and imaging through strong atmospheric turbulence.