Press Release

Commercially Hosted Infrared Payload Completes Initial On-orbit Testing

By SpaceRef Editor
November 3, 2011
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LOS ANGELES AIR FORCE BASE, El Segundo, Calif. — The U.S. Air Force successfully completed initial on-orbit testing for the Commercially Hosted Infrared Payload.

Initial on-orbit testing included the actions necessary to initialize the CHIRP payload and complete functional check out. The payload is performing nominally and providing valuable on-orbit performance data to guide development of future wide field-of-view infrared sensors and associated technology.

CHIRP is a technology maturation and risk reduction experiment to collect real-world wide field-of-view infrared data, investigate spacecraft-sensor interactions and sensor behavior in the space environment, explore operational issues relevant to these sensors, and evaluate long-term suitability of commercially hosted payloads. CHIRP technology provides continuous coverage within the field of view and allows for increased performance with a simplified design. Completing the initial on-orbit testing is the first step towards comparing the pre-launch predicted performance with actual on-orbit data. The 9.5 month demonstration period will collect data from a wide range of targets against a variety of backgrounds and seasonal conditions to gain real-world experience.

“This is an important first step for the Air Force,” says Col. Scott Beidleman, Space and Missile Systems Center’s Development Planning Director. “Now that the payload completed functional check out, the next step is calibration followed by execution of planned experiments. Analysis results will provide actionable information for acquisition decision makers. Also, given the path-finding nature of CHIRP, the Development Planning Directorate is gathering invaluable lessons learned on these technologies and commercial hosting.”

SpaceRef staff editor.