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Proceedings Paper

Wavefront sensor testing in hypersonic flows using a laser-spark guide star
Author(s): Daniel R. Neal; Darrell J. Armstrong; Eric Hedlund; Melissa Lederer; Arnold S. Collier; Charles Spring; James K. Gruetzner; Gregory A. Hebner; Justin D. Mansell
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Paper Abstract

The flight environment of next-generation theater missile defense interceptors involves hypersonic speeds that place severe aero-thermodynamic loads on missile components including the windows used for optical seekers. These heating effects can lead to significant boresight error and aberration. Ground-based tests are required to characterize these effects. We have developed methods to measure aberrations in seeker windows using a Shack-Hartmann wavefront sensor. Light from a laser or other source with a well known wavefront is passed through the window and falls on the sensor. The sensor uses an array of micro-lenses to generate a grid of focal spots on a CCD detector. The positions of the focal spots provide a measure of the wavefront slope over each micro-lens. The wavefront is reconstructed by integrating the slopes, and analyzed to characterize aberrations. During flight, optical seekers look upstream through a window at 'look angles' angles near 0 degrees relative to the free stream flow. A 0 degree angle corresponds to large angles approaching 90 degrees when measured relative to the normal of the window, and is difficult to simulate using conventional techniques to illuminate the wavefront sensor during wind tunnel tests. For this reason, we developed a technique using laser- induced optical breakdown that allows arbitrary look angles down to 0 degrees.

Paper Details

Date Published: 21 November 1997
PDF: 13 pages
Proc. SPIE 3172, Optical Technology in Fluid, Thermal, and Combustion Flow III, (21 November 1997);
Show Author Affiliations
Daniel R. Neal, WaveFront Sciences, Inc. (United States)
Darrell J. Armstrong, WaveFront Sciences, Inc. (United States)
Eric Hedlund, Naval Surface Warfare Ctr. (United States)
Melissa Lederer, Naval Surface Warfare Ctr. (United States)
Arnold S. Collier, Naval Surface Warfare Ctr. (United States)
Charles Spring, Naval Surface Warfare Ctr. (United States)
James K. Gruetzner, Sandia National Labs. (United States)
Gregory A. Hebner, Sandia National Labs. (United States)
Justin D. Mansell, Stanford Univ. (United States)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 3172:
Optical Technology in Fluid, Thermal, and Combustion Flow III
Soyoung Stephen Cha; James D. Trolinger; Masaaki Kawahashi, Editor(s)

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