CHIRP’s Real Work Begins

The Air Force’s first military payload aboard a commercial satellite successfully completed performance testing on orbit and is performing to standards. Now that the commercially hosted infrared payload (CHIRP) has completed diagnostics, “the next step is calibration followed by execution of planned experiments,” said Col. Scott Beidleman, Space and Missile Systems Center development plans chief. “Given the path-finding nature of CHIRP, the Development Planning Directorate is gathering invaluable lessons learned on these technologies and commercial hosting,” he added. Launched aboard the SES-2 communication satellite in September, CHIRP also is the Air Force’s first focused wide-view infrared sensor. Due to its fixed field of view, the sensor design is both simple to build and economical to operate. The sensor’s information gathering ability will be tried under a full range of atmospheric and terrain conditions over nine and a half months of demonstrations. (Los Angeles release)