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RIT, FIT Camera Being Tested on ISS

Photonics Spectra
Jun 2017
ROCHESTER, N.Y. — Imaging technology advanced by researchers at the Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) and the Florida Institute of Technology (FIT) is being tested on the International Space Station (ISS) and could someday be used on future space telescopes.

A new twist on the charge injection device (CID) camera, originally developed in 1972 by General Electric Co., fine-tunes the array of pixels for improved exposure control in low-light conditions. The enhanced technology could give scientists a new method for imaging planets around other stars and improve the search for habitable Earth-like planets.

Zoran Ninkov, professor at RIT's Chester F. Carlson Center for Imaging Science, and Daniel Batcheldor, head of physics and Space Sciences at FIT, designed the charge injection device camera to capture contrasts between light emitted by astronomical objects.

"CID arrays offer considerable promise in many applications due to the focal plane architecture that allows random pixel access and nondestructive readout," Ninkov said. “In addition to improving presently available devices, the development of next-generation imaging arrays promise considerable flexibility in read-out and on-chip processing for the future."

A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket carried the charge injection device to the ISS in the cargo of supplies and science experiments in February. Astronauts have installed the camera on a platform outside the space station and will test the camera for six months.

"We expect to start seeing results by the end of April," Batcheldor said. "A complex test pattern will be sent from a successfully operated camera through the ISS systems and down to the ground. A successful demonstration of CIDs on the International Space Station will put this technology at the NASA Technology Readiness Level 8, which means it's ready to fly as a primary instrument on a future space telescope."

BusinesscamerasimagingaerospaceindustrialRochester Institute of Technologyflorida institute of technologyInternational Space Stationcharge injection deviceCID cameraZoran NinkovDaniel BatcheldorAmericaslight speed

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