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Proceedings Paper

Pointing and tracking concepts for deep-space missions
Author(s): James W. Alexander; Sukhan Lee; Chien-Chung Chen
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Paper Abstract

This paper summarizes part of a FY1998 effort on the design and development of an optical communications (Opcomm) subsystem for the Advanced Deep Space System Development (ADSSD) Project. This study was funded by the JPL X2000 program to develop an optical communications (Opcomm) subsystem for use in future planetary missions. The goal of this development effort was aimed at providing prototype hardware with the capability of performing uplink, downlink, and ranging functions from deep space distances. Such a system was envisioned to support future deep space missions in the Outer Planets/Solar Probe (OPSP) mission set such as the Pluto express and Europa orbiter by providing a significant enhancement of data return capability. A study effort was initiated to develop a flyable engineering model optical terminal to support the proposed Europa Orbiter mission -- as either the prime telecom subsystem or for mission augmentation. The design concept was to extend the prototype lasercom terminal development effort currently conducted by JPL's Optical Communications Group. The subsystem would track the sun illuminated Earth at Europa and farther distances for pointing reference. During the course of the study, a number of challenging issues were found. These included thermo- mechanical distortion, straylight control, and pointing. This paper focuses on the pointing aspects required to locate and direct a laser beam from a spacecraft (S/C) near Jupiter to a receiving station on Earth.

Paper Details

Date Published: 26 April 1999
PDF: 20 pages
Proc. SPIE 3615, Free-Space Laser Communication Technologies XI, (26 April 1999); doi: 10.1117/12.346185
Show Author Affiliations
James W. Alexander, Jet Propulsion Lab. (United States)
Sukhan Lee, Jet Propulsion Lab. (United States)
Chien-Chung Chen, Jet Propulsion Lab. (United States)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 3615:
Free-Space Laser Communication Technologies XI
G. Stephen Mecherle, Editor(s)

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