Infrared Background Signature Survey

Funded by the Strategic Defense Initiative organization (SDIO), SDL designed and fabricated a portable multi-function infrared calibration source (MIC 1) and applied the source to calibrate the IBSS primary sensor. The IBSS sensor consisted of a high-off-axis rejection telescope, a spatial radiometer, and an Ebert-Fastie grating spectrometer. SDL also developed a data collection and analysis system to facilitate rapid data analysis. IBSS was launched aboard and deployed from Space Shuttle STS-39 in April 1991.

The IBSS sensors were mounted on a SPAS-II pallet and used to observe the Space Shuttle's engines firing from a distance away. They also observed a variety of common rocket propellants, including nitrogen tetroxide, MMH, and UDMH, released by three Chemical Release Observation sub-satellites launched from Get-Away Special canisters on the Shuttle. IBSS provided critical data to the DoD on liquid engine plumes, Earth background, and chemical obscurant phenomenology.