Sparse-aperture telescopes can be designed to capture the same resolution as a filled aperture but with a significant reduction in size and weight. Image-chain models have been generated for several sparse-aperture remote sensing system concepts. These models are used to generate image simulations, which are used to quantify the image quality as a function of design parameters associated with various sparse-aperture designs. This study generated image simulation models for the Annulus, Golay 6, and Tri-Arm sparse-aperture designs. A psychophysical evaluation was conducted to determine the integration time necessary to maintain the image quality as the fill factor is decreased for these designs. Image simulations were also generated to determine the accuracy of the generalized image quality equation to predict the image quality differences between the different designs. © 2002 Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers.