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Proceedings Paper

A tradeoff investigation for the BepiColombo Laser Altimeter design
Author(s): Kurt S. Gunderson; Nicolas Thomas; Tilman Spohn; Karsten Seiferlin
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Paper Abstract

The BepiColombo Laser Altimeter (BELA) is a proposed experiment for the BepiColombo mission to the planet Mercury. BELA is intended to provide payload-to-surface ranging data from a spacecraft in a polar Hermean orbit by measuring the time-of-flight of outgoing laser pulses and their echoes. As proposed, BELA also will provide small-scale surface variation and reflectivity data via characterization of return pulse forms. Primary instrument components include a low frequency pulsed Nd:YAG laser transmitter and a reflective receiver telescope feeding a silicon avalanche photodiode to capture pulse echoes with a direct detection approach. To assist with the evaluation of various design strategies, we have developed a numerical model of the instrument that returns a signal-to-noise-ratio figure of merit, as well as simulated return pulses, according to a diverse set of hardware specifications and viewing geometries as input parameters. An analysis of large sets of simulated pulses assists with the estimation of measurement accuracy. This model has been used to investigate the performance of a variety of instrument configurations, and some tradeoffs leading to the favored design will be described.

Paper Details

Date Published: 30 December 2004
PDF: 11 pages
Proc. SPIE 5660, Instruments, Science, and Methods for Geospace and Planetary Remote Sensing, (30 December 2004); doi: 10.1117/12.578722
Show Author Affiliations
Kurt S. Gunderson, Univ. Bern (Switzerland)
Nicolas Thomas, Univ. Bern (Switzerland)
Tilman Spohn, Deutsches Zentrum fur Luft und Raumfahrt (Germany)
Karsten Seiferlin, Univ. Bern (Switzerland)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 5660:
Instruments, Science, and Methods for Geospace and Planetary Remote Sensing
Carl A. Nardell; Paul G. Lucey; Jeng-Hwa Yee; James B. Garvin, Editor(s)

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