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Proceedings Paper

Strategy for laser guide star operations without human aircraft spotters
Author(s): Paul J. Stomski; Bob Goodrich; Steve Shimko
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Paper Abstract

Observatories using laser guide star (LGS) adaptive optics (AO) systems need to implement safety systems to protect aircraft from being illuminated by the lasers. These systems are made up of a combination of control measures and procedures. In the USA the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is responsible for protecting aircraft and issues a determination of no-objection to the use of lasers in the navigable airspace before operations can begin. To date, the FAA has required all observatories with LGS systems to use human aircraft spotters as part of the aircraft safety system. This paper discusses how we might go about developing an automated alternative that is more reliable and less expensive than using spotters and is also acceptable to the FAA. Specific challenges are identified and discussed. These challenges include understanding the FAA perspective on issues related to aircraft safety and lasers, understanding the FAA evaluation and approval process for specific control measures, safety systems and operational procedures, working with appropriate standards committees to develop requirements and performance validation plans which lead to quantifiable confidence. We would also like to solicit collaboration from within the Mauna Kea astronomy community and also the broader astronomical community.

Paper Details

Date Published: 10 July 2008
PDF: 11 pages
Proc. SPIE 7015, Adaptive Optics Systems, 70152T (10 July 2008); doi: 10.1117/12.790274
Show Author Affiliations
Paul J. Stomski, W. M. Keck Observatory (United States)
Bob Goodrich, W. M. Keck Observatory (United States)
Steve Shimko, W. M. Keck Observatory (United States)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 7015:
Adaptive Optics Systems
Norbert Hubin; Claire E. Max; Peter L. Wizinowich, Editor(s)

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