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Proceedings Paper • Open Access

Laser ranging interferometer for GRACE follow-on
Author(s): Gerhard Heinzel; Benjmin Sheard; Nils Brause; Karsten Danzmann; Marina Dehne; Oliver Gerberding; Christoph Mahrdt; Vitali Müller; Daniel Schütze; Gunnar Stede; William Klipstein; William Folkner; Robert Spero; Kolja Nicklaus; Peter Gath; Daniel Shaddock

Paper Abstract

The Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (GRACE) has produced a wealth of data on Earth gravity, hydrology, glaciology and climate research. To continue that data after the imminent end of the GRACE mission, a follow-on mission is planned to be launched in 2017, as a joint USGerman project with a smaller Australian contribution. The satellites will be essentially rebuilt as they were for GRACE using microwave ranging as the primary instrument for measuring changes of the intersatellite distance. In addition and in contrast to the original GRACE mission, a Laser Ranging Interferometer (LRI, previously also called ‘Laser Ranging Instrument’) will be included as a technology demonstrator, which will operate together with the microwave ranging and supply a complimentary set of ranging data with lower noise, and new data on the relative alignment between the spacecraft. The LRI aims for a noise level of 80 nm/√Hz over a distance of up to 270km and will be the first intersatellite laser ranging interferometer. It shares many technologies with LISA-like gravitational wave observatories. This paper describes the optical architecture including the mechanisms to handle pointing jitter, the main noise sources and their mitigation, and initial laboratory breadboard experiments at AEI Hannover.

Paper Details

Date Published: 20 November 2017
PDF: 10 pages
Proc. SPIE 10564, International Conference on Space Optics — ICSO 2012, 1056420 (20 November 2017); doi: 10.1117/12.2309099
Show Author Affiliations
Gerhard Heinzel, Max-Planck-Institut für Gravitationsphysik (Germany)
Benjmin Sheard, Max-Planck-Institut für Gravitationsphysik (Germany)
Nils Brause, Max-Planck-Institut für Gravitationsphysik (Germany)
Karsten Danzmann, Max-Planck-Institut für Gravitationsphysik (Germany)
Marina Dehne, Max-Planck-Institut für Gravitationsphysik (Germany)
Oliver Gerberding, Max-Planck-Institut für Gravitationsphysik (Germany)
Christoph Mahrdt, Max-Planck-Institut für Gravitationsphysik (Germany)
Vitali Müller, Max-Planck-Institut für Gravitationsphysik (Germany)
Daniel Schütze, Max-Planck-Institut für Gravitationsphysik (Germany)
Gunnar Stede, Max-Planck-Institut für Gravitationsphysik (Germany)
William Klipstein, California Institute of Technology (United States)
William Folkner, California Institute of Technology (United States)
Robert Spero, California Institute of Technology (United States)
Kolja Nicklaus, STI Immenstaad (Germany)
Peter Gath, Astrium Immenstaad (Germany)
Daniel Shaddock, Australian National Univ. (Australia)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 10564:
International Conference on Space Optics — ICSO 2012
Bruno Cugny; Errico Armandillo; Nikos Karafolas, Editor(s)

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