Labsphere, Inc. is announcing plans to locate a Field Line of sight Automated Radiance Exposure, or FLARE, testing site at Arizona State University's (ASU) Polytechnic campus as part of the ASU Polytechnic Innovation District. FLARE is a system of high-tech mirrors that can be used to improve the performance of satellite, airborne and drone-based imaging systems.
This new collaboration between Labsphere and ASU will benefit university students by allowing them to gain real-world experience in areas such as remote sensing and earth observation. It also advances ASU's NewSpace Initiative which fosters partnerships with space exploration and technology companies to discover new research avenues while creating opportunities for student engagement. Additionally, Labsphere will support ASU Polytechnic engineering capstone student projects.
Labsphere will gain access to ASU's outstanding resources, and to an excellent physical environment in Mesa in which to test and further develop the FLARE technology.
Chris Durell, Director of Business Development for Remote Sensing at Labsphere said, "The ASU location, students and outstanding staff afford Labsphere a very agile resource to conduct satellite testing and explore new technology avenues for FLARE. Capstone projects carried out by ASU students will support the development of new mobile modalities and FLARE design extensions for expanding satellite testing tools and techniques. This is also a fantastic opportunity for bright, young talent to contribute to the innovation in the New Space market while learning the fundamental skills of remote sensing and earth observation. The ASU environment will be a fantastic incubator for new ideas and services."
Labsphere and ASU have agreed upon the manual deployment of geometric mirror arrays for satellite image quality testing. Also, the partnership provides for a future, fully-automated FLARE system installation in addition to the manual array test area.
The FLARE network is a revolutionary new way of optically calibrating imager and sensor's spatial, geometric and radiometric performance.
The concept of using stars for calibrating telescopes is one that dates back to the early days of astronomy. Space telescopes including Hubble, as well as the future James Webb Telescope, use star fields to perform image quality and signal testing. This technique was not available on earth until now.
FLARE targets are a controlled, automated, adjustable "stars on the ground." Labsphere is using this robust technique and making it available to telescopes imaging the earth so they can perform the same verification and testing in real time.
"We are thrilled to have another cutting-edge technology company locate with us at the ASU Polytechnic campus and are excited to have Labsphere join us at ASU in driving and inventing the technologies of the future," said Dr. Duane Roen, Vice-Provost of the ASU Polytechnic campus and Dean of the College of Integrative Sciences and Arts.
The City of Mesa also supports the project. "We are pleased to welcome Labsphere's FLARE testing site to Mesa in ASU Polytechnic Innovation District," Mesa Economic Development Director Bill Jabjiniak said. "With this announcement, Labsphere joins some the world's top aerospace technology companies with major facilities in Mesa."
Darryl Morrell, an associate professor of engineering said the opportunity to work with Labsphere's FLARE testing site will enhance the interdisciplinary engineering education students gain at the Polytechnic School.
"This kind of work experience really reinforces the idea that the problems they'll work on in their careers are interdisciplinary," Morrell said. "Working with the FLARE system will allow students to understand how electrical and mechanical systems underpin real-world projects."
About the ASU Polytechnic Innovation District
The ASU Polytechnic Innovation District is 300 acres of land adjacent to the ASU Polytechnic campus, which is home to The Polytechnic School, one of the six schools comprising ASU's Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering, one of the largest engineering schools in the country. The campus also is home to programs offered by five other ASU colleges. The District is ideal for industry partnerships with its strong focus on project-based learning, interdisciplinary laboratories and regional transportation assets. Situated moments from Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport and SkyBridge, the United States' only inland international air logistics and joint U.S.-Mexico Customs processing hub, the ASU Polytechnic Innovation District will meet the needs for tech-transfer, advanced solutions, transportation, and seamless logistics solutions.
Labsphere, Inc. is an internationally recognized photonics company headquartered in central New Hampshire, U.S.A., with a satellite facility in Shanghai, China, and a global network of distribution partners. Labsphere provides innovative solutions for a wide range of applications including LED/SSL lighting, laser power measurement, remote sensing, imager/consumer camera, automotive, defense and security, health and biomedical optics to both production and research environments. Founded in 1979, it is part of the Halma plc Group of companies. For more information, visit Labsphere and FLARE.