The Asteroid Terrestrial-Impact Last Alert System (ATLAS) is being developed by a team of astronomers at the University of Hawaii and is funded by NASA. ATLAS is an asteroid impact early warning system consisting of two telescopes that will scan the whole sky several times every night looking for moving objects. Each telescope has a 10k x 10k STA1600 CCD and an Archon controller. When the project’s Haleakala and Mauna Loa sites are complete by early 2016, ATLAS can provide one day’s warning for a 30-kiloton “town killer,” a week for a 5-megaton “city killer,” and three weeks for a 100-megaton “county killer” asteroid. More information on ATLAS is available here.
The second of 3 STA cameras has been installed by NIAOT for the AST3 (Antarctic Survey Telescope) project. Each camera consists of a backside illuminated STA1600FT CCD (10k x 5k frame transfer, 9 μm pixel), a compact dewar with TEC cooling, and an STA Reflex camera controller. The NAIOT announcement can be read here.
With the potential to save lives, Lockheed Martin’s Geostationary Lightning Mapper (GLM) will provide earlier alerts of developing tornados and severe storms by monitoring lightning on a continental scale. The 500 frame per second CCD imager with variable pixel size (STA3900A) at the heart of the GLM was developed by Semiconductor Technology Associates, Inc. The variable pixel size provides a near uniform mapping of the curved surface of the earth. This, in conjunction with the 500 frame per second readout rate and excellent system optical throughput, establishes 70-90% flash detection day and night. The GLM will fly on the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) GOES-R Series environmental satellites beginning in 2016. The Lockheed Martin press release can be read here.