Center for Frontier Astronautics


Research topics are mainly following four topics.

1) Systemization of earth observation sensor design
Recently requirement for earth observation sensors have been complicated and sophisticated to meet social demand like monitoring global environment from any aspect or understanding comprehensive human activities. Responding to such requirements, earth observation sensors themselves also have been branched into a wide variety (e.g. Imager, Radiometer, Radar, Lider) and evolving by incorporating cutting edge technology (e.g. integrated circuit, material). Considering such situations, we are studying generic scheme to estimate sensor performance (spatial/ spectral resolution, geometric and radiometric performance) to meet science requirement based on concept of sequential chain of components, namely ‘information chain’. We try to aggregate sensor models that ever introduced by particular projects as well as key technologies applied to each component into this generic scheme.
2) Calibration technique for earth observation sensor
Calibration is the critical technique to convert sensor signal output in engineering units ( e.g. volts ) into physical quantities ( e.g. radiance ) and calibration accuracy determines a significant portion of the end products quality. The excellent calibration accuracy also makes sure interoperability among earth observation sensors regardless of instrument type nor of any developer/operator. We investigate ever introduced calibration methodology during prelaunch test with ground support equipment as well as on-orbit calibration with onboard calibration systems. We also propose methodology that in-process or in-part characterization are synthetized into end-to-end calibration based on the above information chain.
3) Intelligent structure design
As future Japanese projects, a large earth observed telescope from the geostationary orbit or a large deployment antenna for synthetic aperture radar are planned. For these projects, mechanical structure design will be critical to achieve best sensor performance. We are investigating the intelligent structure system that enable to correct the sensor performance by itself autonomously by combination of opto-mechanical model with metrology technique inside the instrument, supported by on-board data processing.
4) Earth observation sensor for small satellites
Recently, time resolved earth observations by small satellites constellation have been investigated by many private companies or universities. To miniaturize the instrument, it is not only important of introducing cutting-edge technique but also important of system engineering approach for what performance should be emphasized under the resource constrain. We propose miniaturization methodology based on the above the information chain and propose future innovative miniaturized sensors.