Measurement of the photometric and spectral BRDF of small Canadian satellites in a controlled environment


  1. Bédard, D.
  2. Lévesque, M.
  3. Wallace, B.
Corporate Authors
Defence R&D Canada - Valcartier, Valcartier QUE (CAN)
Measuring a satellite’s bidirectional reflection distribution function (BRDF) before and after launch can yield significant information relevant to the exploitation of remote photometric and spectrometric observations for Space Situational Awareness (SSA). There are three Canadian technology demonstration space missions, consisting of four small spacecraft representing three very different small satellite designs, which are scheduled to be launched between 2012 and 2013. These are the NEOSSat, CanX-4/CanX-5, and M3MSat spacecraft and all of these space missions have been partially funded by Defence R&D Canada (DRDC). They will each provide an opportunity to collect BRDF measurements from this class of satellites in a controlled laboratory environment before their launch and to then compare these data to remote observations. Given that the measurement of a spacecraft’s BRDF had never been attempted in Canada, it was deemed critical to develop and test a characterization procedure before gaining access to a real spacecraft. Accordingly, the first characterization experiment was conducted using an engineering model (EM) of the CanX-1 nanosatellite. All of the experimental objectives were successfully achieved and the experiment paved the way for the characterization of the NEOSSat microsatellite that is expected to be launched in early 2012. This paper will describe the spacecraft characterization methodology that was adopted for the CanX-1 EM and will present selected resul
Report Number
DRDC-VALCARTIER-SL-2011-343 — Scientific Literature
Date of publication
01 Sep 2011
Number of Pages
Electronic Document(PDF)

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