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Proceedings Paper

Modulating retroreflectors for space, tracking, acquisition, and ranging using multiple quantum well technology
Author(s): G. Charmaine Gilbreath; N. Glenn Creamer; William S. Rabinovich; Timothy J. Meehan; Michael J. Vilcheck; John A. Vasquez; Rita Mahon; Eun Oh; Peter G. Goetz; Sharon Mozersky
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Paper Abstract

This paper describes a novel concept for optical interrogation, communication, and navigation between spacecraft platforms. The technique uses a gimbaled laser source on a pursuer spacecraft and an array of solid-state, multiple quantum well modulating retroreflectors on a target spacecraft. The sensor system provides high-bandwidth optical communication, centimeter-level relative positioning, and better than arc-minute-level relative attitude of the target platform with minimal sacrifice in target size, weight, and power. To accomplish the relative navigation, each target retroreflector return is modulated with a unique code sequence, allowing for individual discrimination of the detected composite signal at the pursuer location. Experimental results using a dual-platform, multi-degree-of-freedom testbed provide verification and demonstration of the concept, highlighting its potential for applications such as inter-spacecraft rendezvous and capture, long-baseline space interferometry, and formation flying.

Paper Details

Date Published: 9 December 2002
PDF: 14 pages
Proc. SPIE 4821, Free-Space Laser Communication and Laser Imaging II, (9 December 2002); doi: 10.1117/12.465903
Show Author Affiliations
G. Charmaine Gilbreath, Naval Research Lab. (United States)
N. Glenn Creamer, Naval Research Lab. (United States)
William S. Rabinovich, Naval Research Lab. (United States)
Timothy J. Meehan, Naval Research Lab. (United States)
Michael J. Vilcheck, Naval Research Lab. (United States)
John A. Vasquez, Naval Research Lab. (United States)
Rita Mahon, Naval Research Lab. (United States)
Eun Oh, Naval Research Lab. (United States)
Peter G. Goetz, Naval Research Lab. (United States)
Sharon Mozersky, Naval Research Lab. (United States)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 4821:
Free-Space Laser Communication and Laser Imaging II
Jennifer C. Ricklin; David G. Voelz, Editor(s)

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