Space-Based Laser Systems
This two-day short course reviews the underlying technology areas used to construct and operate space-based laser altimeters and laser radar systems. The course presents background information to allow an appreciation for designing and evaluating space-based laser radars.
Fundamental descriptions are given for direct-detection and coherent-detection laser radar systems, and, details associated with space applications are presented. System requirements are developed and methodology of system component selection is given. Performance evaluation criteria are developed based on system requirements. Design considerations for space-based laser radars are discussed and case studies describing previous and current space instrumentation are presented. In particular, the development, test, and operation of the NEAR Laser Radar is discussed in detailed to illustrate design decisions.
Emerging technologies pushing next-generation laser altimeters are discussed, the use of lasers in BMD and TMD architectures are summarized, and additional topics addressing laser radar target identification and tracking aspects are provided. Fundamentals associated with lasers and optics are not covered in this course, a generalized level of understanding is assumed.
Who should attend:
Engineers, scientists, and technical managers interested in obtaining a fundamental knowledge of the technologies and system engineering aspects underlying laser radar systems. The course presents mathematical equations (e.g., link budget) and design rules (e.g., bi-static, mono-static, coherent, direct detection configurations), survey and discussion of key technologies employed (laser transmitters, receiver optics and transducer, post-detection signal processing), performance measurement and examples, and an overview of special topics (e.g., space qualification and operation, scintillation effects, signal processing implementations) to allow appreciation towards the design and operation of laser radars in space.
- Introduction to Laser Radar Systems. Definitions Remote sensing and altimetry, Space object identification and tracking.
- Review of Basic Theory. How Laser Radar Systems Function.
- Direct-detection systems. Coherent-detection systems, Altimetry application, Radar (tracking) application, Target identification application.
- Laser Radar Design Approach. Constraints, Spacecraft resources, Cost drivers, Proven technologies, Matching instrument with application.
- System Performance Evaluation. Development of laser radar performance equations, Review of secondary considerations, Speckle, Glint, Trade-off studies, Aperture vs. power, Coherent vs. incoherent detection, Spacecraft pointing vs. beam steering optics.
- Laser Radar Functional Implementation. Component descriptions, System implementations.
- Case Studies. Altimeters, Apollo 17, Clementine, Detailed study of the NEAR laser altimeter design & implementation, selection of system components for high-rel requirements, testing of space-based laser systems, nuances associated with operating space-based lasers, Mars Global Surveyor, Radars, LOWKATR (BMD midcourse sensing), FIREPOND (BMD target ID), TMD/BMD Laser Systems, COIL: A TMD Airborne Laser System (TMD target lethal interception).
- Emerging Developments and Future Trends. PN coding, Laser vibrometry, Signal processing hardware Implementation issues.
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SCHEDULING: If this course is not on the current schedule of open enrollment courses and you are interested in attending this or another course as an open enrollment, please contact us at (410)956-8805 or email@example.com. Please indicate the course name, number of students who wish to participate. and a preferred time frame. ATI typically schedules open enrollment courses with a 3-5 month lead-time. To express your interest in an open enrollment course not on our current schedule, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Timothy Cole is a leading authority with 30 years of experience exclusively working in electro-optical systems as a systems and design engineer. While at Applied Physics Laboratory for 21 years, Tim was awarded the NASA Achievement Award in connection with the design, development and operation of the Near-Earth Asteroid Rendezvous (NEAR) Laser Radar and was also the initial technical lead for the New Horizons LOng-Range Reconnaissance Imager (LORRI instrument). He has presented technical papers addressing space-based laser altimetry all over the US and Europe. His industry experience has been focused on the systems engineering and analysis associated development of optical detectors, wireless ad hoc remote sensing, exoatmospheric sensor design and now leads ICESat-2 ATLAS altimeter calibration effort.
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