Abstract

When a spacecraft is in orbit, it is almost impossible to check its working condition. Almost all payload would generate waste heat when working, which is usually ejected by a radiator. By observing the radiator, we can catch a glimpse of a spacecraft’s inner information. A thorough model of a space-based infrared detection system is analyzed, taking the radiator into account, which, to the best of our knowledge, has seldom been considered. The calculation result shows that infrared radiation reflected by spacecraft is weak compared with the spacecraft’s self-radiation in 8–12 μm, and the contrast ratio between the radiator and surrounding area could be the criterion for judging the working condition of a spacecraft. The limit of detection distance is also increased due the higher temperature of the radiator.

© 2017 Optical Society of America

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