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Proceedings Paper

Performance evaluation of the Near Earth Asteroid Rendezvous laser rangefinder
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Paper Abstract

A direct-detection laser altimeter is one of five instruments supporting the one-year scientific investigation of the near-Earth asteroid, 433 Eros, the subject of the near-earth asteroid rendezvous (NEAR) mission. While orbiting Eros at an altitude of 50 km, the NEAR laser rangefinder will continuously sample Eros' surface. Evaluation of altimeter performance requires an understanding of pertinent asteroid characteristics, mission geometry, and rangefinder implementation of the Neyman- Pearson detection criterion. Analysis indicates performance margin of 9.8 dB at 50 km in the presence of speckle. The altimeter is a bistatic configuration that uses a 15 mJ/pulse Cr:Nd:YAG solid-state laser and 3.5-inch aperture Dall-Kirkham receiver telescope with low-noise, high-speed detection electronics. This paper presents pertinent mission requirements and highlights the altimeter design. Our analysis is described and results from altimeter testing are provided demonstrating 9 - 12 dB performance margin, in agreement with prediction.

Paper Details

Date Published: 18 October 1996
PDF: 13 pages
Proc. SPIE 2811, Photonics for Space Environments IV, (18 October 1996); doi: 10.1117/12.254033
Show Author Affiliations
Timothy D. Cole, Johns Hopkins Univ. (United States)
Frederic M. Davidson, Johns Hopkins Univ. (United States)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 2811:
Photonics for Space Environments IV
Edward W. Taylor, Editor(s)

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