L.Garde’s first project was the Inflatable Exoatmospheric Object (IEO) in 1971. The most heavily instrumented inflatable target L.Garde has designed, tested, and flown was the Firefly. The firefly was instrumented to detect and change its state of motion through an on-board microprocessor and a L.Garde-developed lightweight coning-control system. Other targets and countermeasures objects include the (a) multi-balloon canister, (b) sounding rocket measurements program (SRMP) objects, (c) light replica decoy (LREP), (d) dual-decoy technology (DDT), and the (e) thrusted replica decoy (TREP).
The SRMP (“shrimp”) was funded by the Army Ballistic Missile Defense Agency in the late 1980s to early 1990s. The goal of the SRMP was to design, analyze, and fabricate inflatable targets with prescribed shapes and signatures. The shapes were spherical and conical. The spherical objects had diameters of 0.5m and 2.2m. Deployment tests were conducted in the McDonnell-Douglas vacuum chamber. As can be seen in the video, deployment to full shape occurs in a few milliseconds. Another video shows the space-deployment of two conical objects and one calibration sphere.
The COOP was an MDA (Missile Defense Agency) supported project through AFRL. Its objective was to develop calibrated orbiting objects for use in research into technologies necessary to build relatively inexpensive microsatellites for test and calibration of the U.S. ballistic missile defense system (BMDS) sensors. The first COOP was designed to simulate reentry vehicle motion and dynamics using the spacecraft attitude control system.
COOP will augment existing test and calibration capabilities by providing persistent calibrated objects with world-wide access. Under contract to AFRL, L.Garde built conical and inflatable spherical objects for use by the MDA for calibration of its sensors. Georgia Technology Research Institute (GTRI) under subcontract from L.Garde carried out the radar cross-section analysis and measurements on the inflatable spherical object.