The Boson thermal imaging system detects thermal energy and accurately measures stand-off temperatures. NASA's packaging incorporates clever modifications that allow it to withstand the most extreme conditions imaginable, ranging from the intense vibrations of liftoff to the vacuum of space and the temperatures reached during re-entry into Earth's atmosphere.
NASA chose the Boson because it already meets many of its stringent engineering requirements, such as a small, lightweight, passively cooled infrared camera with 640480 thermal resolution. The platform is also well suited to customization and repackaging in order to withstand the rigours of space travel.
NASA's Boson and package assembly have been fully tested and qualified at TRL 8 for operation in conditions such as high vibration, shock, vacuum, high radiation, and temperature cycling from extreme cold to extreme heat. The modified Boson packaging could also be a viable option for use in the harshest terrestrial environments, such as aerospace and unmanned industrial machinery.
Heat Shield Inflatable Re-Entry Test
The space-grade Boson will be used in the NASA Low Earth Orbit Flight Test of an Inflatable Decelerator (LOFTID/IHAD) for its first mission, which is essentially a test of the effectiveness of an inflatable heat shield during re-entry into Earth's atmosphere.
The Boson will sit behind the heat shield, observing the heat generated in the infrared spectrum as the shield returns to Earth. An inflatable, lighter-weight heat shield could be very useful for future missions, whether they are returning to Earth or entering the atmospheres of nearby celestial objects in the solar system. The altered Boson could also be used in imaging systems for future low-Earth orbit satellites and spacecraft.
The first test is scheduled to begin in November 2022. Successful testing will raise the TRL for the Boson and packing assembly to level 9, which is available for licensing through NASA's Technology Transfer Program.
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