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Proceedings Paper

Atmospheric visibility monitoring for planetary optical communications
Author(s): Kelly A. Cowles
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Paper Abstract

Optical communications systems between earth and planetary spacecraft are being developed for use in the next century. Ground-based receivers must be prepared to contend with a variety of atmospheric conditions. Improved weather models will enable more reliable predictions of system performance. The atmospheric visibility monitoring (AVM) project has been designed to enhance present models and produce joint visibility statistics for multiple sites in the southwestern United States. Three autonomous observatories will be deployed to measure atmospheric conditions based on observed starlight. A preliminary model predicts that from three sites in the southwestern United States with a low correlation of weather patterns, at least one site should have clear skies adequate for optical communications 94% of the time. Data from the observatories will give clear-sky and transmission statistics for three particular sites chosen for a high probability of clear skies. Transmission measurements will be taken using broadband astronomical filters as well as narrowband filters corresponding to laser wavelengths being considered for communications. Ground-based data will be compared to satellite imagery to determine the correlation between satellite data and ground-based observations.

Paper Details

Date Published: 1 July 1991
PDF: 8 pages
Proc. SPIE 1487, Propagation Engineering: Fourth in a Series, (1 July 1991); doi: 10.1117/12.46568
Show Author Affiliations
Kelly A. Cowles, Jet Propulsion Lab. (United States)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 1487:
Propagation Engineering: Fourth in a Series
Luc R. Bissonnette; Walter B. Miller, Editor(s)

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