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Proceedings Paper

Separating and tracking multiple beacon sources for deep space optical communications
Author(s): Kevin M. Birnbaum; Adit Sahasrabudhe; William H. Farr
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Paper Abstract

We propose a solution for pointing and tracking an optical terminal using one or more beacons and a slowly varying background image. The primary application is a deep space optical communication terminal, where multiple source tracking provides robustness against beacon outage. Our solution uses optical orthogonal codes modulated on each beacon to separate the signal from each source for centroiding. This technique allows calculation of the transmit pointing vector from each beacon location as well as from the background image. The latter can be used to track during beacon outages. We present a simple algorithm for performing this separation, and apply it to experimental data from a photon-counting detector illuminated by two beacons and one constant source. Our results show that the photon flux from each source can be accurately estimated even in the low signal, high background regime. We estimate the variance of the signal estimator due to Poisson fluctuations and infer the effect on a centroid estimator for tracking.

Paper Details

Date Published: 26 February 2010
PDF: 11 pages
Proc. SPIE 7587, Free-Space Laser Communication Technologies XXII, 75870Q (26 February 2010); doi: 10.1117/12.843268
Show Author Affiliations
Kevin M. Birnbaum, Jet Propulsion Lab. (United States)
Adit Sahasrabudhe, Jet Propulsion Lab. (United States)
William H. Farr, Jet Propulsion Lab. (United States)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 7587:
Free-Space Laser Communication Technologies XXII
Hamid Hemmati, Editor(s)

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