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Proceedings Paper

STARSAT: a joint NASA/AF project for laser calibration of small objects in space
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Paper Abstract

The Air Force Research Laboratory/Directed Energy Directorate (AFRL/DE) and NASA/Marshall Space Flight Center (MSFC) are looking at a series of joint laser space calibration experiments using the 12J 15Hz CO2 HIgh Performance CO2 Ladar Surveillance Sensor (HI-CLASS) system on the 3.67 meter aperture Advanced Electro-Optics System (AEOS). The objectives of these experiments are to provide accurate range and signature measurements of calibration spheres, demonstrate high resolution tracking capability of small objects, and precision dray determination for LEO. Ancillary benefits include calibrating radar and optical sites, completing satellite conjunction analyses, supporting orbital perturbations analyses, and comparing radar and optical signatures. In the first experiment, a Global Positioning System (GPS)/laser beacon instrumented micro-satellite about 25 cm in diameter will be deployed from a Space Shuttle Hitchhiker canister or other suitable launch means. Orbiting in low earth orbit, the micro-satellite will pass over AEOS on the average of two times per 24-hour period. An onboard orbit propagator will activate the GPS unit and a visible laser beacon at the appropriate times. The HI-CLASS/AEOS system will detect the micro-satellite as it rises above the horizon, using GPS-generated acquisition vectors. The visible laser beacon will be used to fine-tune the tracking parameters for continuous ladar data measurements throughout the pass. This operational approach should maximize visibility to the ground-based laser while allowing battery life to be conserved, thus extending the lifetime of the satellite. GPS data will be transmitted to the ground providing independent location information for the micro-satellite down to sub-meter accuracies.

Paper Details

Date Published: 13 September 2002
PDF: 12 pages
Proc. SPIE 4760, High-Power Laser Ablation IV, (13 September 2002); doi: 10.1117/12.482037
Show Author Affiliations
Jonathan W. Campbell, NASA Marshall Space Flight Ctr. (United States)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 4760:
High-Power Laser Ablation IV
Claude R. Phipps, Editor(s)

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