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Proceedings Paper

NASA Ground-Based And Space-Based Laser Ranging Systems
Author(s): Michael W. Fitzmaurice
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Paper Abstract

The development of laser ranging systems within NASA started in the early 1960's, soon after the invention of the laser. This program has grown substantially in the intervening years, and has produced important results in the areas of precision orbit determination and gravity field determination. In addition, laser ranging is expected in the near future to produce some unique results on earth crustal motions. These results may be very important for understanding the mechanisms which cause earthquakes. In this document we present an overview of the NASA laser ranging program. The dis-cussion is organized as outlined in Figure 1. The principal applications these systems address are outlined, and the characteristics of typical systems built during the 1960's and early 1970's are described. The current state-of-the-art as exemplified by some of the more recent ranging systems are also discussed with respect to performance levels and the error sources which limit this performance. The final section discusses the plans within NASA for using laser ranging systems aboard the Space Shuttle.

Paper Details

Date Published: 28 December 1977
PDF: 10 pages
Proc. SPIE 0128, Effective Utilization of Optics in Radar Systems, (28 December 1977); doi: 10.1117/12.955980
Show Author Affiliations
Michael W. Fitzmaurice, Goddard Space Flight Center (United States)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 0128:
Effective Utilization of Optics in Radar Systems
Bernard W. Vatz, Editor(s)

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