Long-range Rocket Tracking and Spacecraft Imaging

Welcome to MARS, the Mobile Aerospace Reconnaissance System.

MARS is the nation's civilian leader in long-range telescopic tracking and imaging of rockets, spacecraft, and suborbital launch vehicles. The MARS team has provided NASA, the Department of Defense, commercial space sectors, and media worldwide with exceptional long-range telescopic imaging for almost two decades. MARS offers the highest quality imaging and superior technology using multiple ground-based Kineto Tracking Mounts (KTMs) with automatic tracking, and the only commercially available gyrostabilized KTM for imaging space vehicles from any ship in the Pacific or Atlantic Ocean.

Large, custom optics provide more pixels on target and better Point Spread Functions (PSFs) than existing tracking telescopes. Primary areas of expertise include scientific quality ascent imagery and safety of flight documentation, infrared thermography, multispectral reentry signature documentation, on-orbit spacecraft imaging, and hypersonic vehicle imaging. MARS owns and operates its own fleet of ground-based, sea-based, and air-based tracking telescopes. High-Speed 3-Dimensional vehicle and parachute imaging are also a specialty.

MARS Scientific image of SpaceX Pad Abort Test, 0.74 seconds before SuperDraco engines shutdown.

MARS Scientific Image of SpaceX Pad Abort Test, 0.74 seconds prior to SuperDraco Engine Shutdown. Higher Resolution image available upon request.

First historic flight of Orbital Sciences' Cygnus spacecraft on September 18, 2013.

MARS Scientific captured the first historic flight of Orbital Sciences' Cygnus spacecraft on September 18, 2013. NASA Wallops Flight Facility, Virginia. Copyright © 2013 MARS Scientific, All Rights Reserved.

SpaceShipTwo Second Powered Flight (MARS Scientific)

MARS Scientific captured the second powered flight of Virgin Galactic's SpaceShipTwo over the Mojave Desert, Sept. 5, 2013. Distance: 24km, Speed: Mach 1.4. Copyright © 2013 MARS Scientific, All Rights Reserved.

SpaceShipTwo PF02 Feathered Flight from 24 kilometers (MARS Scientific)

MARS Scientific has produced exceptional in-flight imagery for Virgin Galactic since 2004.

NASA Space Shuttle Endeavour, STS-134 (MARS Ground-Based Image)

MARS Ground-Based Image: NASA Space Shuttle Endeavour, STS-134. Distance: 53 km, Speed: Mach 6.2 (7,500 miles/hour). Space Shuttle was in complete darkness, MARS image is in the infrared. Note the assymetrical boundary layer transition, and the shuttle tiles visible on wing leading edges.

MARS Kineto Tracking Mounts (KTMs) - Spacecraft Tracking System