Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science


Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics

First Advisor

Andrew S. Keys, PhD


A gap exists in imaging capabilities necessary for Space Domain Awareness, at Geostationary Equatorial Orbit (GEO) distances and beyond. Synthetic Aperture Silhouette Imaging (SASI), which resolves a space object's silhouette with measurements of the diffraction pattern cast by the object's occultation of a distant star, provides a new method that may be used to characterize these satellites. This research analyzes the reconstruction of satellite silhouettes using data from a scaled benchtop experiment to evaluate the distance and resolution limitations of SASI at distances equal to and beyond GEO. Diffraction patterns of two satellite silhouette targets are captured at various scaled distances and fed to Matab code which utilizes an iterative phase retrieval algorithm to estimate the original silhouettes. Resolutions of 36 centimeters at GEO altitude and 1.54 meters at twice GEO altitude were obtained, and identified measurement improvements show potential for even greater resolution. These results demonstrate the value of SASI as a tool which can provide valuable information of a satellite of interest and fill in the SDA imaging capability gap.

AFIT Designator


DTIC Accession Number