Hyperspectral Imaging Polarimeter

The HIP pathfinder sensor, developed by SDL for MDA, investigated the infrared characteristics of sun-glint from high altitude clouds in order to research techniques to reduce the high incidence of false missile-launch indications from US early-warning satellites.

Designed for high spatial and spectral resolution polarimetry of backscattered sunlight from cloud tops in the 2.7 micrometer water band, HIP flew aboard the Flying Infrared Signatures Technology Aircraft (FISTA) as a proof-of-concept sensor, combining hyperspectral pushbroom imaging with high speed, solid state polarimetry, using as many off-the-shelf components as possible, and using an optical breadboard design for rapid prototyping.

HIP laid the groundwork for the design of more advanced sensors for the RAMOS program and for the development of a proof-of-concept, multi-camera LWIR polarimeter built by SDL for the Nichols Corporation. For Nichols, SDL integrated and aligned multiple cameras into the payload package and provided custom software and calibration for the instrument.