Revolutionary Image Technology (RIT)


The Revolutionary Image Technology, RIT, is an image acquisition experiment that with its cameras will acquire digital pictures from a balloon at a height of 100,000 feet. The payload for the RIT balloon experiment consists of a set of pressure vessels. The pressure vessels contain the RIT-specific elements of the balloon payload and provides a 1 atmosphere environment for the cameras and computer electronics. The vessels themselves and the support structures for the equipment in the vessels were designed by the NRL RIT team, along with the imaging custom software and filters. The internal computer structure and the camera power and control electronics deck were designed and built by Silver Engineering, Inc. (SEI). Silver Engineering, Inc. contributed to the RIT program providing electrical, mechanical and manufacturing support.

SEI Designed and Manufactured

  • Computer Platform Structure: Consisting of 16 - 933Mhz single board computers with a digital video camera PCI interface board and a 73 GB hard drive peripheral for each computer. Four 30 volt input power interfaces were converted to the required operating power inside the structure which was then dispersed via four quad back planes. Networking is provided by an 8 and 16 10/100BASE ethernet switches.
  • Camera Power and Control Deck: Consisting of a camera control module designed by SEI known as the Camera Synchronization Unit (CSU) and power interfaces for powering the 16 cameras. SEI also provided all data cabling in the camera pressure vessel to the 16 cameras.
  • Payload Controller: SEI provided design support for this module along with integrating the electronics and designing and building it's cable interfaces.

Computer Platform Structure


Camera Power and Control Deck


Original RIT Rack System


The original RIT system was designed for deployment on a blimp. The system was integrated into shipping containers that could easily and safely be mounted into the blimp. SEI contributed in the hardware design, system interface design and the system integration. All of the Data Acquisition Equipment in the above racks was minimized into the Computer Platform Structure.


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