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Sample records for orbiter laser altimeter

  1. Mars Orbiter Laser Altimeter

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Zuber, Maria T.

    1997-01-01

    The objective of this study was to support the rebuild and implementation of the Mars Orbiter Laser Altimeter (MOLA) investigation and to perform scientific analysis of current Mars data relevant to the investigation. The instrument is part of the payload of the NASA Mars Global Surveyor (MGS) mission. The instrument is a rebuild of the Mars Observer Laser Altimeter that was originally flown on the ill-fated Mars Observer mission. The instrument is currently in orbit around Mars and has so far returned remarkable data.

  2. Laser altimeter

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    1972-01-01

    The development of a laser altimeter for use in the Apollo Lunar Orbital Experiments mission is discussed. The altimeter provides precise measurement of an Apollo vehicle above the lunar surface from an orbit of 40 to 80 nautical miles. The technical characteristics of the altimeter are described. Management of the altimeter development program is analyzed.

  3. Refinement of Phobos Ephemeris Using Mars Orbiter Laser Altimeter Radiometry

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Neumann, G. A.; Bills, B. G.; Smith, D. E.; Zuber, M. T.

    2004-01-01

    Radiometric observations from the Mars Orbiter Laser Altimeter (MOLA) can be used to improve the ephemeris of Phobos, with particular interest in refining estimates of the secular acceleration due to tidal dissipation within Mars. We have searched the Mars Orbiter Laser Altimeter (MOLA) radiometry data for shadows cast by the moon Phobos, finding 7 such profiles during the Mapping and Extended Mission phases, and 5 during the last two years of radiometry operations. Preliminary data suggest that the motion of Phobos has advanced by one or more seconds beyond that predicted by the current ephemerides, and the advance has increased over the 5 years of Mars Global Surveyor (MGS) operations.

  4. Mars orbiter laser altimeter: receiver model and performance analysis.

    PubMed

    Abshire, J B; Sun, X; Afzal, R S

    2000-05-20

    The design, calibration, and performance of the Mars Orbiter Laser Altimeter (MOLA) receiver are described. The MOLA measurements include the range to the surface, which is determined by the laser-pulse time of flight; the height variability within the footprint determined by the laser echo pulse width; and the apparent surface reflectivity determined by the ratio of the echo to transmitted pulse energies. PMID:18345159

  5. Participation in the Mars Orbiting Laser Altimeter Experiment

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Pettengill, Gordon H.

    2002-01-01

    This NASA Grant, 5-4434, has covered the active participation of the Principal Investigator, Prof. Gordon Pettengill, and his Co-Investigator, Peter Ford, in the Mars Orbiting Laser Altimeter (MOLA) Experiment, over a period of five years. This participation has included attending team meetings, planning observing operations, developing data-reduction software algorithms, and processing data, as well as presenting a number of oral reports at scientific meetings and published papers in refereed journals. This research has concentrated on the various types of Martian clouds that were detected by the laser altimeter.

  6. Lunar Topography: Results from the Lunar Orbiter Laser Altimeter

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Neumann, Gregory; Smith, David E.; Zuber, Maria T.; Mazarico, Erwan

    2012-01-01

    The Lunar Orbiter Laser Altimeter (LOLA) onboard the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) has been operating nearly continuously since July 2009, accumulating over 6 billion measurements from more than 2 billion in-orbit laser shots. LRO's near-polar orbit results in very high data density in the immediate vicinity of the lunar poles, with full coverage at the equator from more than 12000 orbital tracks averaging less than 1 km in spacing at the equator. LRO has obtained a global geodetic model of the lunar topography with 50-meter horizontal and 1-m radial accuracy in a lunar center-of-mass coordinate system, with profiles of topography at 20-m horizontal resolution, and 0.1-m vertical precision. LOLA also provides measurements of reflectivity and surface roughness down to its 5-m laser spot size. With these data LOLA has measured the shape of all lunar craters 20 km and larger. In the proposed extended mission commencing late in 2012, LOLA will concentrate observations in the Southern Hemisphere, improving the density of the polar coverage to nearly 10-m pixel resolution and accuracy to better than 20 m total position error. Uses for these data include mission planning and targeting, illumination studies, geodetic control of images, as well as lunar geology and geophysics. Further improvements in geodetic accuracy are anticipated from the use of re ned gravity fields after the successful completion of the Gravity Recovery and Interior Laboratory (GRAIL) mission in 2012.

  7. Participation in the Mars Orbiting Laser Altimeter Experiment

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Pettengil, Gordon H.; Ford, Peter

    2004-01-01

    The Mars Orbiting Laser Altimeter (MOLA) instrument [1,2] carried aboard the Mars Global Surveyor (MGS) spacecraft, has observed strong echoes from cloud tops at 1.064 microns on 61% of its orbital passes over the winter north pole (235deg L(sub S), < 315deg) and on 58% of the passes over the winter south pole (45deg < L(sub S), < 135deg). The clouds are unlikely to be composed of water ice since the vapor pressure of H2O is very low at the Martian nighttime polar temperatures measured by the Thermal Emission Spectrometer (TES) [3], and by an analysis of MGS radio occultations [4]. Dust clouds can also be ruled out since no correlation is seen between clouds and global dust storms. The virtually certain composition for the winter polar clouds is CO2 ice.

  8. Vertical roughness of Mars from the Mars Orbiter Laser Altimeter

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Garvin, James B.; Frawley, James J.; Abshire, James B.

    The vertical roughness of the martian surface at ˜250 m spatial scales has been determined in two global latitude bands: an equatorial and a high northern band acquired from 18 tracks of data by the Mars Orbiter Laser Altimeter (MOLA) during the Fall of 1997. The distribution of RMS vertical roughness, as derived from MOLA pulse widths, for the equatorial band is non-gaussian, with an overall mean of 2.8 m RMS, but with secondary populations at 1.5 m and 2-6 m RMS. The higher latitude northern plains of Mars are almost uniformly ˜1 m RMS in their vertical roughness characteristics, suggesting that they are smoother than virtually any terrestrial deserts. We suggest that dust mantling has muted the local topography of Mars, rendering it as smooth as 1-2 m RMS. Heavily cratered uplands near the martian equator are noticeably rougher, indicating more rugged and less-mantled local topography.

  9. Northern Hemisphere Slopes from Mars Orbiter Laser Altimeter

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Aharonson, O.; Zuber, M. T.

    1998-12-01

    Slopes, slope distributions, and macroscale surface roughness in the northern hemisphere of Mars have been measured from topographic profiles collected by the Mars Orbiter Laser Altimeter (MOLA) in the capture orbit, aerobraking hiatus and Science Phasing Orbit phases of the Mars Global Surveyor mission. The distribution function of slopes indicates that portions of the Martian surface fall into statistically distinct categories, distinguished by the histograms of both point-to-point slopes and of longer wavelength (10 and 100 km) slopes. Roughness correlates with elevation such that low regions tend to exhibit low roughness. Areas such as southern hemisphere highlands, dichotomy boundary terrains, and northern hemisphere lowlands all posses unique slope distribution signatures. The slope distribution within the Amazonis Planitia region, particularly member 3 of the Arcadia formation, displays an unusually smooth character. This region of anomalously low thermal inertia and low radar backscatter cross-section exhibits an rms variation in topography of <2 m over a 100-km baseline. Previous interpretations have suggested that this area is composed of accumulation of fine dust. Statistical comparison with other planetary surfaces of varying origin indicates that Amazonis most closely resembles in its smoothness the heavily sedimented surfaces on the Earth, i.e. oceanic abyssal plains and basins characterized by fluvial deposition. The smoothest measured volcanic surfaces as measured by altimetry on the Moon, Venus, and Mars are all significantly rougher than Amazonis. Saharan sand sheets are rougher by a factor of about three. Other regions in the Martian northern hemisphere that exhibit clear evidence of aeolian deposition are rougher than Amazonis as well.

  10. Research Participation in the Mars Orbiter Laser Altimeter Experiment

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Pettengill, Gordon H.

    2003-01-01

    This report describes the tasks that have been completed by the Principal Investigator, Gordon Pettengill, and his team during the first year of this grant. Dr. Pettengill was assisted by Dr. Peter Ford and Ms. Joan Quigley. Our main task has been to analyze the polar clouds detected by MOLA (Mars Orbiter Laser Altimeter) during the nominal mission of the Mars Global Surveyor (MGS) in 1999-2001 and to correlate the results with other data sets, in particular that from TES, the MGS thermal emission spectrometer. Starting with the Martian cloud database that we constructed prior to the start of this grant, we have examined all TES footprints that overlap MOLA clouds in time and space, correlating the thermal signature against specific categories that we assign to MOLA clouds on the basis of visual inspection. We are particularly interested in clouds in the region of "cold spots", areas of anomalously low thermal brightness temperature that have been detected in the polar winter by several instruments beginning with IRIS on Mariner 9. They are thought to indicate regions of active CO2 sublimation or snowfall, and it is hoped that MOLA measurements may tell us more about these regions.

  11. Optical system design and integration of the Lunar Orbiter Laser Altimeter.

    PubMed

    Ramos-Izquierdo, Luis; Scott, V Stanley; Connelly, Joseph; Schmidt, Stephen; Mamakos, William; Guzek, Jeffrey; Peters, Carlton; Liiva, Peter; Rodriguez, Michael; Cavanaugh, John; Riris, Haris

    2009-06-01

    The Lunar Orbiter Laser Altimeter (LOLA), developed for the 2009 Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) mission, is designed to measure the Moon's topography via laser ranging. A description of the LOLA optical system and its measured optical performance during instrument-level and spacecraft-level integration and testing are presented. PMID:19488116

  12. The Lunar Orbiter Laser Altimeter (LOLA) Laser Transmitter

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Yu, Anthony W.; Novo-Gradac, Anne Marie; Shaw, George B.; Unger, Glenn; Lukemire, Alan

    2008-01-01

    We present the final configuration of the space flight laser transmitter as delivered to the LOLA instrument. The laser consists of two oscillators with co-aligned outputs on a single bench, each capable of providing one billion plus shots.

  13. Laser Transmitter for the Lunar Orbit Laser Altimeter (LOLA) Instrument

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Yu, Anthony W.; Novo-Gradac, Anne-Marie; Shaw, George B.; Li, Steven X.; Krebs, Danny C.; Ramos-Izquierdo, Luis A.; Unger, Glenn; Lukemire, Alan

    2008-01-01

    We present the final configuration of the space flight laser transmitter as delivered to the LOLA instrument. The laser consists of two oscillators on a single bench, each capable of providing one billion plus shots.

  14. Shuttle Laser Altimeter

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Bufton, Jack L.; Harding, David J.; Garvin, James B.

    1999-01-01

    The Shuttle Laser Altimeter (SLA) is a Hitchhiker experiment that has flown twice; first on STS-72 in January 1996 and then on STS-85 in August 1997. Both missions produced successful laser altimetry and surface lidar data products from approximately 80 hours per mission of SLA data operations. A total of four Shuttle missions are planned for the SLA series. This paper documents SLA mission results and explains SLA pathfinder accomplishments at the mid-point in this series of Hitchhiker missions. The overall objective of the SLA mission series is the transition of the Goddard Space Flight Center airborne laser altimeter and lidar technology to low Earth orbit as a pathfinder for NASA operational space-based laser remote sensing devices. Future laser altimeter sensors will utilize systems and approaches being tested with SLA, including the Multi-Beam Laser Altimeter (MBLA) and the Geoscience Laser Altimeter System (GLAS). MBLA is the land and vegetation laser sensor for the NASA Earth System Sciences Pathfinder Vegetation Canopy Lidar (VCL) Mission, and GLAS is the Earth Observing System facility instrument on the Ice, Cloud, and Land Elevation Satellite (ICESat). The Mars Orbiting Laser Altimeter, now well into a multi-year mapping mission at the red planet, is also directly benefiting from SLA data analysis methods, just as SLA benefited from MOLA spare parts and instrument technology experience [5] during SLA construction in the early 1990s.

  15. MOLA Science Team A Mars' Year of Topographic Mapping with the Mars Orbiter Laser Altimeter

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Smith, David E.; Zuber, Maria T.

    2001-01-01

    Mars Orbiter Laser Altimeter (MOLA) has operated at Mars for a full Mars year and provided a new geodetic and geophysical view of the planet. As the spacecraft enters into the Extended Mission, MOLA will concentrate its observations on the seasonal variability of the icecaps and martian clouds. Additional information is contained in the original extended abstract.

  16. Observations of Reflectivity of the Martian Surface in the Mars Orbiter Laser Altimeter (MOLA) Investigation

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Ivanov, Anton B.; Muhleman, Duane O.

    2000-01-01

    We are presenting results of calculation of the surface albedo of Mars at 1 micron wavelength from the Mars Orbiter Laser Altimeter (MOLA) reflectivity measurements. The Mars Global Surveyor Thermal Emission Spectrometer (MGS TES) 9 micron opacity is employed to remove opacity from the MOLA measurements.

  17. New Morphometric Measurements of Peak-Ring Basins on Mercury and the Moon: Results from the Mercury Laser Altimeter and Lunar Orbiter Laser Altimeter

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Baker, David M. H.; Head, James W.; Prockter, Louise M.; Fassett, Caleb I.; Neumann, Gregory A.; Smith, David E.; Solomon, Sean C.; Zuber, Maria T.; Oberst, Juergen; Preusker, Frank; Gwiner, Klaus

    2012-01-01

    Peak-ring basins (large impact craters exhibiting a single interior ring) are important to understanding the processes controlling the morphological transition from craters to large basins on planetary bodies. New image and topography data from the MErcury Surface, Space ENvironment, GEochemistry, and Ranging (MESSENGER) and Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) spacecraft have helped to update the catalogs of peak-ring basins on Mercury and the Moon [1,2] and are enabling improved calculations of the morphometric properties of these basins. We use current orbital altimeter measurements from the Mercury Laser Altimeter (MLA) [3] and the Lunar Orbiter Laser Altimeter (LOLA) [4], as well as stereo-derived topography [5], to calculate the floor depths and peak-ring heights of peak-ring basins on Mercury and the Moon. We present trends in these parameters as functions of rim-crest diameter, which are likely to be related to processes controlling the onset of peak rings in these basins.

  18. Recent Mars Orbiter Laser Altimeter (MOLA) Results and Implications for Site Selection

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Head, J. W., III

    1999-06-01

    Analysis of data from the Mars Orbiter Laser Altimeter (MOLA) has revealed important information about geological and geophysical processes on Mars that have a bearing on the scientific goals and objectives of future Mars orbiter and lander missions. Here we 1) summarize some preliminary scientific findings relevant to the goals and objectives of future Mars exploration that are also important for landing site selection and surface operations, and 2) show how MOLA data can be used in landing site analyses and engineering studies.

  19. In-orbit Calibration of the Lunar Orbiter Laser Altimeter Via Two-Way Laser Ranging with an Earth Station

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Sun, X.; Barker, M. K.; Mao, D.; Marzarico, E.; Neumann, G. A.; Skillman, D. R.; Zagwodzki, T. W.; Torrence, M. H.; Mcgarry, J.; Smith, D. E.; Zuber, M. T.

    2014-12-01

    Orbiting planetary laser altimeters have provided critical data on such bodies as the Earth, Mars, the Moon, Mercury, and 433 Eros. The measurement accuracy of these instruments depends on accurate knowledge of not only the position and attitude of the spacecraft, but also the pointing of the altimeter with respect to the spacecraft coordinate system. To that end, we have carried out several experiments to measure post-launch instrument characteristics for the Lunar Orbiter Laser Altimeter (LOLA) onboard the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter. In these experiments, the spacecraft points away from the Moon and scans the Earth in a raster pattern as the LOLA laser fires (the downlink) while a ground station on Earth fires its own laser to the spacecraft (the uplink). The downlink pulse arrival times and digitized waveforms are recorded at the ground station, the Goddard Geophysical and Astronomical Observatory in Greenbelt, MD, and the uplink arrival times and pulse widths are measured by LOLA. From early in the mission, the experiments have helped to confirm a pointing anomaly when LOLA is facing towards deep space or the cold side of the Moon. Under these conditions, the downlink data indicate a laser bore-sight pointing offset of about -400 and 100 microradians in the cross-track and along-track directions, respectively. These corrections are consistent with an analysis of LOLA ground-track crossovers spread throughout the mission to determine lunar tidal flexure. The downlink data also allow the reconstruction of the laser far-field pattern. From the uplink data, we estimate a correction to the receiver telescope nighttime pointing of ~140 microradians in the cross-track direction. By comparing data from such experiments shortly after launch and nearly 5 years later, we have directly measured the changes in the laser characteristics and obtained critical data to understand the laser behavior and refine the instrument calibration.

  20. Latest Results from the Mars Orbiter Laser Altimeter (MOLA)

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Smith, David E.; Zuber, Maria T.; Solomon, Sean C.; Phillips, Roger J.; Head, James W.; Gavin, James B.; Frey, Herbert V.; Muhleman, Duane O.; Pettengill, Gordon H.; Zwally, H. Jay

    2000-01-01

    The first MOLA data were acquired in Sept. 1997 shortly after the arrival of Mars Global Surveyor (MGS) at Mars and before the start of aerobraking. Subsequently, data were obtained during several months in the spring and summer of 1998. All these data were obtained over the northern hemisphere. At the beginning of March 1999 the mapping phase of the MGS mission began in the designed 400 km near circular, near polar orbit and MOLA began collecting continuous global data. By the end of 1999 MOLA had acquired over 250 million altimeter measurements of the radius of the planet at accuracies of the order of a few meters radially and about 100 meters horizontally. These observations revealed the detailed structure of the Martian surface, the form of the polar caps, as well as the shape of the planet. The early results provided a unique view of the north polar cap and subsequently of the south polar cap from which an estimate of the total volume of present-day surface water ice of 3.2 to 4.7 million cubic km was obtained. To obtain full coverage of the polar caps it was necessary for MOLA to be pointed off nadir approximately 20 degrees and on several occasions MGS has performed a roll maneuver to make these observations. It is hoped that these off-nadir observations of the central region of the cap (MGS only reaches to latitudes plus or minus 86.5) will assist in the detection of the seasonal deposition of CO2 since it is believed that these high latitudes regions may be the accumulation zone.

  1. Lunar altimetric datasets: Global comparisons with the Lunar Orbiter Laser Altimeter elevation model

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Neumann, G. A.; Duxbury, T. C.; Lemoine, F. G.; Mazarico, E.; Oberst, J.; Robinson, M. S.; Smith, D. E.; Torrence, M. H.; Zuber, M. T.

    2010-12-01

    Starting with the Apollo program, increasingly precise orbital and Earth-based measurements of the topography of the Moon have been performed with radar and laser altimeters. Orbital measurements are the most accurate, being relative to the center of mass, while Earth-based radar must generally be adjusted to match controls. Recent data from high-resolution laser altimeters reveal substantial errors in earlier datasets. We present the results of over 2.4 billion measurements (as of Sept. 1, 2010) from the Lunar Orbiter Laser Altimeter (LOLA), with near-global coverage, 10-cm vertical precision, and meter-level radial accuracy, to which datasets from the Arecibo and Goldstone radar, the photogrammetric Unified Lunar Control Network 2005, and from the Clementine (DOD), LALT (JAXA), LAM (CSA) and LLRI (ISA) laser altimeters may be compared. The geodetic network being generated by LOLA will be applied to images and stereophotogrammetric solutions being generated by the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter to create a reference dataset suitable for exploration and science. The LOLA data, either as 5-point multibeam swaths or as digital elevation models, may also be used to assess the orbital, attitude, and timing accuracy of other mapping instruments. Examples will be shown using the densely-sampled, polar 20-m digital elevation models being provided to the Exploration Systems Mission Directorate and Planetary Data System of NASA as part of the LRO Project. With other altimetric datasets and mapping camera solutions filling in the gaps between LOLA swaths, a consistent, accurate, and international altimetric dataset will emerge.

  2. Mars Observer Laser Altimeter

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Zuber, Maria T.

    1997-01-01

    The objective of this study was to support the rebuild and implementation of the Mars Orbiter Laser Aftimeter (MOLA) investigation and to perform scientific analysis of current Mars data relevant to the future investigation. The instrument is part of the payload of the NASA Mars Global Surveyor (MGS) mission. The instrument is a rebuild of the Mars Observer Laser Altimeter that was originally flown on the ill-fated Mars Observer mission.

  3. An Experiment to Detect Lunar Horizon Glow with the Lunar Orbit Laser Altimeter Laser Ranging Telescope

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Smith, David E.; Zuber, Maria T.; Barker, Michael; Mazarico, Erwan; Neumann, Gregory A.; McClanahan, Timothy P.; Sun, Xiaoli

    2016-04-01

    Lunar horizon glow (LHG) was an observation by the Apollo astronauts of a brightening of the horizon around the time of sunrise. The effect has yet to be fully explained or confirmed by instruments on lunar orbiting spacecraft despite several attempts. The Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) spacecraft carries the laser altimeter (LOLA) instrument which has a 2.5 cm aperture telescope for Earth-based laser ranging (LR) mounted and bore-sighted with the high gain antenna (HGA). The LR telescope is connected to LOLA by a fiber-glass cable to one of its 5 detectors. For the LGH experiments the LR telescope is pointed toward the horizon shortly before lunar sunrise with the intent of observing any forward scattering of sunlight due to the presence of dust or particles in the field of view. Initially, the LR telescope is pointed at the dark lunar surface, which provides a measure of the dark count, and moves toward the lunar limb so as to measure the brightness of the sky just above the lunar limb immediately prior to lunar sunrise. At no time does the sun shine directly into the LR telescope, although the LR telescope is pointed as close to the sun as the 1.75-degree field of view permits. Experiments show that the LHG signal seen by the astronauts can be detected with a four-second integration of the noise counts.

  4. A Mars orbital laser altimeter for rover trafficability: Instrument concept and science potential

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Garvin, J. B.; Zuber, M. T.

    1988-01-01

    Limited information on the types of geologic hazards (boulders, troughs, craters etc.) that will affect rover trafficability on Mars are available for the two Viking Lander sites, and there are no prospects for increasing this knowledge base in the near future. None of the instrument payloads on the upcoming Mars Observer or Soviet PHOBOS missions can directly measure surface obstacles on the scales of concern for rover safety (a few meters). Candidate instruments for the Soviet Mars 92 orbiter/balloon/rover mission such as balloon-borne stereo imaging, rover panoramic imaging, and orbital synthetic aperature imaging (SAR) are under discussion, but data from this mission may not be available for target areas of interest for the U.S. Mars Rover Sample Return (MRSR) mission. In an effort to determine how to directly measure the topography of surface obstacles that could affect rover trafficability on Mars, we are studying how to design a laser altimeter with extremely high spatial and vertical resolution that would be suitable for a future Mars Orbiter spacecraft (MRSR precursor or MRSR orbiter). This report discusses some of the design issues associated with such an instrument, gives examples of laser altimeter data collected for Mars analog terrains on Earth, and outlines the scientific potential of data that could be obtained with the system.

  5. Laser network survey and orbit recovery. [altimeter evaluation in GEOS-C project

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Berbert, J. H.

    1974-01-01

    Simulations were performed for the anticipated GEOS-C laser network stations at Goddard, Bermuda, and Florida to predict how well survey and orbit will be recovered. Lasers were added one at a time at Grand Turk, Antigua, and Panama to estimate the contribution from these additional sites. Time tag biases of 50 microseconds, survey uncertainties of 10 meters in each coordinate, laser range biases and noise estimates of 20 cm each, and conventional gravity uncertainties were included in the simulations. The results indicate that survey can be recovered to about 1 meter and Grand Turk can be recovered better than Antigua or Panama. Reducing the probably pessimistic assumed time tag biases and gravity field uncertainties improves the results. Using these survey recovery estimates, the short arc GEOS-C satellite heights for altimeter intercomparison orbits can be recovered within the calibration area to better than the required two meters.

  6. Regional Elevations in the Southern Hemisphere of Mars From the Mars Orbiter Laser Altimeter

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Smith, D. E.; Zuber, M. T.; Frey, H. V.; Garvin, J. B.; Head, J. W.; Muhleman, D. O.; Neumann, G. A.; Pettengill, G. H.; Phillips, R. J.; Solomon, S. C.

    1999-01-01

    The Mars Orbiter Laser Altimeter (MOLA) is an instrument on the Mars Global Surveyor (MGS) spacecraft that is currently providing the first high vertical and spatial resolution topographic measurements of surface elevations on Mars. The shot size in the mapping orbit is about 100 m and the shot-to-shot spacing is 330 m. The instrument has a vertical precision of 37.5 cm and a vertical accuracy that depends on the radial accuracy of the MGS orbit that is currently in the range 5-30 km. The initial focus on observations in the nominal mapping mission will be on the southern hemisphere, which was not sampled during the MGS aerobraking hiatus and Science Phasing orbits. During the first several weeks of global mapping there will be emphasis on producing a digital terrain model (DTM) of the Mars '98 landing site.

  7. Night and Day: The Opacity of Clouds Measured by the Mars Orbiter Laser Altimeter (MOLA)

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Neumann, G. A.; Wilson, R. J.

    2006-01-01

    The Mars Orbiter Laser Altimeter (MOLA) [l] on the Mars Global Surveyor spacecraft ranged to clouds over the course of nearly two Mars years [2] using an active laser ranging system. While ranging to the surface, the instrument was also able to measure the product of the surface reflectivity with the two-way atmospheric transmission at 1064 nm. Furthermore, the reflectivity has now been mapped over seasonal cycles using the passive radiometric capability built into MOLA [3]. Combining these measurements, the column opacity may be inferred. MOLA uniquely provides these measurements both night and day. This study examines the pronounced nighttime opacity of the aphelion season tropical water ice clouds, and the indiscernibly low opacity of the southern polar winter clouds. The water ice clouds (Figure 1) do not themselves trigger the altimeter but have measured opacities tau > 1.5 and are temporally and spatially correlated with temperature anomalies predicted by a Mars Global Circulation Model (MGCM) that incorporates cloud radiative effects [4]. The south polar CO2 ice clouds trigger the altimeter with a very high backscatter cross-section over a thickness of 3-9 m and are vertically dispersed over several km, but their total column opacities lie well below the MOLA measurement limit of tau = 0.7. These clouds correspond to regions of supercooled atmosphere that may form either very large specularly reflecting particles [2] or very compact, dense concentrations (>5x10(exp 6)/cu m) of 100-p particles

  8. The Mars Orbiter Laser Altimeter Archive: Final Precision Experiment Data Record Release and Status of Radiometry

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Neumann, Gregory A.; Lemoine, F. G.; Smith, D. E.; Zuber, M. T.

    2003-01-01

    A final release (Version L) of the Mars Orbiter Laser Altimeter (MOLA) Precision Experiment Data Record (PEDR) has been submitted to the Planetary Data System (PDS). Additional gridded data record products are forthcoming. These products have evolved since their original description, owing in part to improved gravity modeling and cartographic reference frames, and in part to refinements in calibration. An additional component, the 1064 nm narrowband radiometry data, is also being archived. These data will be invaluable for future studies by Mars explorers and scientists.

  9. Evolution of the Mars Northern Ice Cap and Results From the Mars Orbiter Laser Altimeter (MOLA)

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Muhleman, D. O.; Ivanov, A. B.

    1998-01-01

    Martian ice caps play an extremely important role in regulating climate of Mars. It is well known that they are acting as a reservoir for CO2 and maybe for water and dust. However, a reliable quantitative estimate of the balance or amount of volatiles inside the ice caps was never possible, because little data were available for this purpose. Here we will present initial results and analysis of topography data over the northern ice cap obtained by the Mars Orbiter Laser Altimeter (MOLA) onboard Mars Global Surveyor (MGS). We interpret the observed shape of the ice caps as created by ablation due to sublimation of water ice.

  10. MGS Mars Orbiter Laser Altimeter (MOLA) - Mars/Earth Relief Comparison

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    1997-01-01

    Comparison of the cross-sectional relief of the deepest portion of the Grand Canyon (Arizona) on Earth versus a Mars Orbiter Laser Altimeter (MOLA) view of a common type of chasm on Mars in the western Elysium region. The MOLA profile was collected during the Mars Global Surveyor Capture Orbit Calibration Pass on September 15, 1997. The Grand Canyon topography is shown as a trace with a measurement every 295 feet (90 meters) along track, while that from MOLA reflects measurements about every 970 feet (400 meters) along track. The slopes of the steep inner canyon wall of the Martian feature exceed the angle of repose, suggesting relative youth and the potential for landslides. The inner wall slopes of the Grand Canyon are less than those of the Martian chasm, reflecting the long period of erosion necessary to form its mile-deep character on Earth.

  11. Detection of the lunar body tide by the Lunar Orbiter Laser Altimeter

    PubMed Central

    Mazarico, Erwan; Barker, Michael K; Neumann, Gregory A; Zuber, Maria T; Smith, David E

    2014-01-01

    The Lunar Orbiter Laser Altimeter instrument onboard the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter spacecraft collected more than 5 billion measurements in the nominal 50 km orbit over ∼10,000 orbits. The data precision, geodetic accuracy, and spatial distribution enable two-dimensional crossovers to be used to infer relative radial position corrections between tracks to better than ∼1 m. We use nearly 500,000 altimetric crossovers to separate remaining high-frequency spacecraft trajectory errors from the periodic radial surface tidal deformation. The unusual sampling of the lunar body tide from polar lunar orbit limits the size of the typical differential signal expected at ground track intersections to ∼10 cm. Nevertheless, we reliably detect the topographic tidal signal and estimate the associated Love number h2 to be 0.0371 ± 0.0033, which is consistent with but lower than recent results from lunar laser ranging. Key Points Altimetric data are used to create radial constraints on the tidal deformationThe body tide amplitude is estimated from the crossover dataThe estimated Love number is consistent with previous estimates but more precise PMID:26074646

  12. Initial Mars Orbiter Laser Altimeter (MOLA) Measurements of the Mars Surface and Atmosphere

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Abshire, James B.; Sun, Xiaoli; Afzal, Robert S.

    1998-01-01

    The Mars Orbiter Laser Altimeter (MOLA) has made an initial set of measurements of the Mars surface and atmosphere. As of this writing 27 orbital passes have been completed, starting Sept. 15, 1997 on orbit Pass 3 and orbits 20-36 and beginning again on March 27, 1998 for orbit passes 203 - 212. The lidar is working well in Mars orbit, and its data show contiguous measurement profiles of the Mars surface to its maximum range of 786 km, an average pulse detection rate of > 99% under clear atmospheric conditions, and < 1 m range resolution. MOLA has profiled the shape and heights of a variety of interesting Mars surface features, including Olympus Mons, the flat northern plains of Mars, Valles Marineris and the northern polar ice cap. It has also detected and profiled a series of cloud layers which occur near the edge of the polar cap and near 60-70 deg N latitude. This is the first time clouds around another planet have been measured using lidar.

  13. Initial Mars Orbiter Laser Altimeter (MOLA) Measurements of the Mars Surface and Atmosphere

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Abshire, James B.; Sun, Xiaoli; Afzal, Robert S.

    1998-07-01

    The Mars Orbiter Laser Altimeter (MOLA) has made an initial set of measurements of the Mars surface and atmosphere. As of this writing 27 orbital passes have been completed, starting Sept. 15, 1997 on orbit Pass 3 and orbits 20-36 and beginning again on March 27, 1998 for orbit passes 203 - 212. The lidar is working well in Mars orbit, and its data show contiguous measurement profiles of the Mars surface to its maximum range of 786 km, an average pulse detection rate of > 99% under clear atmospheric conditions, and < 1 m range resolution. MOLA has profiled the shape and heights of a variety of interesting Mars surface features, including Olympus Mons, the flat northern plains of Mars, Valles Marineris and the northern polar ice cap. It has also detected and profiled a series of cloud layers which occur near the edge of the polar cap and near 60-70 deg N latitude. This is the first time clouds around another planet have been measured using lidar.

  14. MESSENGER Laser Altimeter

    NASA Video Gallery

    MESSENGER's Mercury Laser Altimeter sends out laser pulses that hit the ground and return to the instrument. The amount of light that returns for each pulse gives the reflectance at that point on t...

  15. Estimates of the moon's geometry using lunar orbiter imagery and Apollo laser altimeter data

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Jones, R. L.

    1973-01-01

    Selenographic coordinates for about 6000 lunar points identified on the Lunar Orbiter photographs are tabulated and have been combined with those lunar radii derived from the Apollo 15 laser altimeter data. These coordinates were used to derive that triaxial ellipsoid which best fits the moon's irregular surface. Fits were obtaind for different constraints on both the axial orientations and the displacement of the center of the ellipsoid. The semiaxes for the unconstrained ellipsoid were a = 1737.6 km, b = 1735.6 km, and c = 1735.0 km which correspond to a mean radius of about 1736.1 km. These axes were found to be nearly parallel to the moon's principal axes of inertia, and the origin was displaced about 2.0 km from the moon's center of gravity in a direction away from the earth and to the south of the lunar equator.

  16. A Mars' Year of Topographic Mapping With The Mars Orbiter Laser Altimeter

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Smith, David E.; Zuber, Maria T.

    2001-01-01

    Since the end of February 1999 the Mars Orbiter Laser Altimeter (MOLA) has been mapping the planet continuously except for a 2 month period around solar conjunction in June 2000. At the end of January 2001 the Mars Global Surveyor Spacecraft (MGS) had completed its prime Mission, one Mars year of observing the planet, and begun the Extended Mission of slightly more than 14 months. MOLA will had acquired over 530 million altimetric measurements by early 2001, and continued to work perfectly. During the Extended Mission the main objective for MOLA will be observations of the seasonal variations in the locations and altitudes of clouds, the changes in the elevations of the polar icecaps due to the deposition and sublimation Of CO2, as well as supporting NASA's search for suitable future landing sites.

  17. Shape of the northern hemisphere of Mars from the Mars Orbiter Laser Altimeter (MOLA)

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Zuber, Maria T.; Smith, David E.; Phillips, Roger J.; Solomon, Sean C.; Banerdt, W. Bruce; Neumann, Gregory A.; Aharonson, Oded

    1998-12-01

    Eighteen profiles of ˜N-S-trending topography from the Mars Orbiter Laser Altimeter (MOLA) are used to analyze the shape of Mars' northern hemisphere. MOLA observations show smaller northern hemisphere flattening than previously thought. The hypsometric distribution is narrowly peaked with >20% of the surface lying within 200 m of the mean elevation. Low elevation correlates with low surface roughness, but the elevation and roughness may reflect different mechanisms. Bouguer gravity indicates less variability in crustal thickness and/or lateral density structure than previously expected. The 3.1-km offset between centers of mass and figure along the polar axis results in a pole-to-equator slope at all longitudes. The N-S slope distribution also shows a subtle longitude-dependent variation that may represent the antipodal effect of the formation of Tharsis.

  18. Opacity of the Martian atmosphere from the Mars Orbiter Laser Altimeter (MOLA) observations

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Ivanov, Anton B.; Muhleman, Duane O.

    1998-12-01

    In this paper we present an analysis of the Mars Orbiter Laser Altimeter (MOLA) reflectivity measurements from the Mars Global Surveyor (MGS) spacecraft, during period of solar longitudes (Ls) 198° → 212°. Reflectivity can be interpreted as a product of the surface geometrical albedo and the two-way atmospheric transmission. Relative surface albedos were obtained from the red filter of Viking Color Mars Digital Mosaics (MDIM) to derive opacities at the MOLA wavelength (1.064 µm). Opacity measurements are interpreted in terms of atmospheric aerosol loading in the canyons. We also observed sudden increase of opacity in the northern regions (65°N), which we interpret as condensing ice clouds.

  19. Observations of reflectivity of the Martian surface in the Mars Orbiter Laser Altimeter investigation

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Ivanov, A. B.; Muhleman, D. O.

    1999-09-01

    The Mars Orbiter Laser Altimeter (MOLA) is an instrument on board the Mars Global Surveyor (MGS) spacecraft. The laser operates at the 1.064 micron wavelength. MOLA measures range to the planet's surface, reflectivity and returned pulse width. Reflectivity (R) is a ratio of the returned energy to the emitted energy. It can be interpreted as a product of albedo (A) of the Martian surface and two-way atmospheric transmission ( R = A * e({) -2 tau }), where tau is total atmospheric opacity. Attenuation of the MOLA signal in the atmosphere is only due to extinction of photons from the laser beam. There are practically no photons scattered into the laser beam. This allows us a very straightforward calculation of albedo, given the opacity of the atmosphere. At the same time the MGS Thermal Emission Spectrometer (TES) was performing measurements of opacity at 9 micron wavelength (Smith et al., 1999). We propose to use these opacities to calculate albedo of the Martian surface from MOLA observations. Appropriate scaling should be applied to TES 9 micron opacity to scale it to the 1.064 micron wavelength, where MOLA operates. This scaling depends on the assumed particle size distribution of dust, suspended in the atmosphere. We will investigate the effect of this assumption on our final albedo results. MOLA has performed measurements of reflectivity during Science Phasing (L_s = 300 - 7) and Mapping (L_s = 103-170) orbits. We will concentrate our albedo calculations on reflectivities obtained by MOLA during the mapping orbit in the darker regions of Mars (Chryse Planitia, North Polar Dune fields). The resulting albedo dataset can then used to estimate the opacity during the Science Phasing Orbit period. References. Smith M.D. et al., Mars Global Surveyor Thermal Emission Spectrometer (TES) observations of dust opacity during aerobraking and science phasing, submitted to JGR-Planets, 1999

  20. Precise Orbit Determination for GEOSAT Follow-On Using Satellite Laser Ranging Data and Intermission Altimeter Crossovers

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Lemoine, Frank G.; Rowlands, David D.; Luthcke, Scott B.; Zelensky, Nikita P.; Chinn, Douglas S.; Pavlis, Despina E.; Marr, Gregory

    2001-01-01

    The US Navy's GEOSAT Follow-On Spacecraft was launched on February 10, 1998 with the primary objective of the mission to map the oceans using a radar altimeter. Following an extensive set of calibration campaigns in 1999 and 2000, the US Navy formally accepted delivery of the satellite on November 29, 2000. Satellite laser ranging (SLR) and Doppler (Tranet-style) beacons track the spacecraft. Although limited amounts of GPS data were obtained, the primary mode of tracking remains satellite laser ranging. The GFO altimeter measurements are highly precise, with orbit error the largest component in the error budget. We have tuned the non-conservative force model for GFO and the gravity model using SLR, Doppler and altimeter crossover data sampled over one year. Gravity covariance projections to 70x70 show the radial orbit error on GEOSAT was reduced from 2.6 cm in EGM96 to 1.3 cm with the addition of SLR, GFO/GFO and TOPEX/GFO crossover data. Evaluation of the gravity fields using SLR and crossover data support the covariance projections and also show a dramatic reduction in geographically-correlated error for the tuned fields. In this paper, we report on progress in orbit determination for GFO using GFO/GFO and TOPEX/GFO altimeter crossovers. We will discuss improvements in satellite force modeling and orbit determination strategy, which allows reduction in GFO radial orbit error from 10-15 cm to better than 5 cm.

  1. An Overview of the Topography of Mars from the Mars Orbiter Laser Altimeter (MOLA)

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Smith, David E.; Zuber, Maria T.

    2000-01-01

    The Mars Global Surveyor (MGS) spacecraft has now completed more than half of its one-Mars-year mission to globally map Mars. During the MGS elliptical and circular orbit mapping phases, the Mars Orbiter Laser Altimeter (MOLA), an instrument on the MGS payload, has collected over 300 million precise elevation measurements. MOLA measures the range from the MGS spacecraft to the Martian surface and to atmospheric reflections. Range is converted to topography through knowledge of the MGS spacecraft orbit. Ranges from MOLA have resulted in a precise global topographic map of Mars. The instrument has also provided measurements of the width of the backscattered optical pulse and of the 1064 nm reflectivity of the Martian surface and atmosphere. The range resolution of the MOLA instrument is 37.5 cm and the along-track resolution of MOLA ground shots is approx. 300 m; the across-track spacing depends on latitude and time in the mapping orbit. The best current topographic grid has a spatial resolution of approx. 1/16 deg and vertical accuracy of approx. one meter. Additional information is contained in the original extended abstract.

  2. Multi-beam laser altimeter

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Bufton, Jack L.; Harding, David J.; Ramos-Izquierdo, Luis

    1993-01-01

    Laser altimetry provides a high-resolution, high-accuracy method for measurement of the elevation and horizontal variability of Earth-surface topography. The basis of the measurement is the timing of the round-trip propagation of short-duration pulses of laser radiation between a spacecraft and the Earth's surface. Vertical resolution of the altimetry measurement is determined primarily by laser pulsewidth, surface-induced spreading in time of the reflected pulse, and the timing precision of the altimeter electronics. With conventional gain-switched pulses from solid-state lasers and sub-nsec resolution electronics, sub-meter vertical range resolution is possible from orbital attitudes of several hundred kilometers. Horizontal resolution is a function of laser beam footprint size at the surface and the spacing between successive laser pulses. Laser divergence angle and altimeter platform height above the surface determine the laser footprint size at the surface, while laser pulse repetition-rate, laser transmitter beam configuration, and altimeter platform velocity determine the space between successive laser pulses. Multiple laser transitters in a singlaltimeter instrument provide across-track and along-track coverage that can be used to construct a range image of the Earth's surface. Other aspects of the multi-beam laser altimeter are discussed.

  3. Precise Orbit Determination for Altimeter Satellites

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Zelensky, N. P.; Luthcke, S. B.; Rowlands, D. D.; Lemoine, F. G.; Beckley, B. B.; Wang, Y.; Chinn, D. S.

    2002-05-01

    Orbit error remains a critical component in the error budget for all radar altimeter missions. This paper describes the ongoing work at GSFC to improve orbits for three radar altimeter satellites: TOPEX/POSEIDON (T/P), Jason, and Geosat Follow-On (GFO). T/P has demonstrated that, the time variation of ocean topography can be determined with an accuracy of a few centimeters, thanks to the availability of highly accurate orbits (2-3 cm radially) produced at GSFC. Jason, the T/P follow-on, is intended to continue measurement of the ocean surface with the same, if not better accuracy. Reaching the Jason centimeter accuracy orbit goal would greatly benefit the knowledge of ocean circulation. Several new POD strategies which promise significant improvement to the current T/P orbit are evaluated over one year of data. Also, preliminary, but very promising Jason POD results are presented. Orbit improvement for GFO has been dramatic, and has allowed this mission to provide a POESEIDON class altimeter product. The GFO Precise Orbit Ephemeris (POE) orbits are based on satellite laser ranging (SLR) tracking supplemented with GFO/GFO altimeter crossover data. The accuracy of these orbits were evaluated using several tests, including independent TOPEX/GFO altimeter crossover data. The orbit improvements are shown over the years 2000 and 2001 for which the POEs have been completed.

  4. Performance Assessment of the Mercury Laser Altimeter on MESSENGER from Mercury Orbit

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Sun, Xiaoli; Cavanaugh, John F.; Neumann, Gregory A.; Mazarico, Edward M.

    2009-01-01

    The Mercury Laser Altimeter (MLA) is one of seven instruments on the MErcury Surface, Space ENvironment GEochemistry, and Ranging (MESSENGER) spacecraft,a mission in NASA's Discovery Program. MESSENGER was launched on August 3, 2004, and entered into orbit about Mercury on March 29, 2011. As of June 30, 2011 MLA started to collect science Measurements on March 29, 2011. As of June 30, 2011 MLA had accumulated about 3 million laser ranging measurements to the Mercury surface through one Mercury year, i.e ., one complete cycle of the spacecraft thermal environment. The average MLA laser output-pulse energy remained steady despite the harsh thermal environment, in which the laser bench temperature changed by as much as 15 C over a 35 min operating period . The laser beam-collimating telescope experienced a 30 C temperature swing over the same period, and the thermal cycling repeated every 12 hours. Nonetheless, MLA receiver optics appeared to be aligned and in focus throughout these temperature excursions. The maximum ranging distance of MLA was 1500 km at near-zero laser-beam incidence angle (and emission angle) and 600 km at 60 deg incidence angle. The MLA instrument performance in Mercury orbit has been consistent with the performance demonstrated during MESSENGER's Mercury flybys in January and October 2008 and during pre-launch testing. In addition to range measurements, MLA data are being used to estimate the surface reflectance of Mercury at 1064 nm wavelength, including regions of permanent shadow on the floors of polar craters. MLA also provides a measurement of the surface reflectance of sunlight at 1064 nm wavelength by its noise counters, for which output is a monotonic function of the background light.

  5. Geoscience Laser Altimeter System (GLAS) Loop Heat Pipes: An Eventual First Year On-Orbit

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Grob, E.; Baker, C.; McCarthy, T.

    2004-01-01

    Goddard Space Flight Center's Geoscience Laser Altimeter System (GLAS) is the sole scientific instrument on the Ice, Cloud and land Elevation Satellite (ICESat) that was launched on January 12, 2003 from Vandenberg AFB. A thermal control architecture based on propylene Loop Heat Pipe technology was developed to provide selectable/stable temperature control for the lasers and other electronics over the widely varying mission environment. Following a nominal LHP and instrument start-up, the mission was interrupted with the failure of the first laser after only 36 days of operation. During the 5-month failure investigation, the two GLAS LHPs and the electronics operated nominally, using heaters as a substitute for the laser heat load. Just prior to resuming the mission, following a seasonal spacecraft yaw maneuver, one of the LHPs deprimed and created a thermal runaway condition that resulted in an emergency shutdown of the GLAS instrument. This paper presents details of the LHP anomaly, the resulting investigation and recovery, along with on-orbit flight data during these critical events.

  6. A new lunar digital elevation model from the Lunar Orbiter Laser Altimeter and SELENE Terrain Camera

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Barker, M. K.; Mazarico, E.; Neumann, G. A.; Zuber, M. T.; Haruyama, J.; Smith, D. E.

    2016-07-01

    We present an improved lunar digital elevation model (DEM) covering latitudes within ±60°, at a horizontal resolution of 512 pixels per degree (∼60 m at the equator) and a typical vertical accuracy ∼3 to 4 m. This DEM is constructed from ∼ 4.5 ×109 geodetically-accurate topographic heights from the Lunar Orbiter Laser Altimeter (LOLA) onboard the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter, to which we co-registered 43,200 stereo-derived DEMs (each 1° × 1°) from the SELENE Terrain Camera (TC) (∼1010 pixels total). After co-registration, approximately 90% of the TC DEMs show root-mean-square vertical residuals with the LOLA data of <5 m compared to ∼ 50% prior to co-registration. We use the co-registered TC data to estimate and correct orbital and pointing geolocation errors from the LOLA altimetric profiles (typically amounting to <10 m horizontally and <1 m vertically). By combining both co-registered datasets, we obtain a near-global DEM with high geodetic accuracy, and without the need for surface interpolation. We evaluate the resulting LOLA + TC merged DEM (designated as "SLDEM2015") with particular attention to quantifying seams and crossover errors.

  7. Lunar Phase Function in the Near-Infrared from the Lunar Orbiter Laser Altimeter

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Barker, M. K.; Mazarico, E.; Sun, X.; Neumann, G. A.; Smith, D. E.; Zuber, M. T.; Lucey, P. G.; Torrence, M. H.

    2014-12-01

    The reflectance of the lunar surface as a function of wavelength and viewing geometry is a fundamental measurement related to the scattering properties of the regolith particles and the structure of the surface. In this study, we report preliminary results on the near-infrared phase function observed with the Lunar Orbiter Laser Altimeter (LOLA) onboard the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter. Since December 2013, LOLA has been collecting passive radiometry (reflected sunlight) in the northern hemisphere where the spacecraft altitude is too high for normal altimetric ranging. In this mode, LOLA acts as a 4-pixel radiometer with pixel size ~60 m, integration time of 1/28th sec (every ~60 m along-track), and signal-to-noise ratio ~50 per pixel in a single "exposure" at low latitudes. We report on the passive radiometric calibration, and compare the LOLA near-infrared phase function to that at similar and smaller wavelengths measured with other instruments. The unique capability of LOLA to also actively measure the normal albedo from the received pulse energies during altimetric ranging provides a crucial anchor point for the passively-derived phase function that is not easily obtained with typical imagers. Finally, we explore what constraints can be placed on the parameters of physically-motivated phase function models. This work will ultimately provide insight on the wavelength dependence of the phase function, for which the theoretical understanding is presently incomplete.

  8. Martian Polar Region Impact Craters: Geometric Properties From Mars Orbiter Laser Altimeter (MOLA) Observations

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Garvin, J. B.; Sakimoto, S. E. H.; Frawley, J. J.; Matias, A.

    1998-01-01

    The Mars Orbiter Laser Altimeter (MOLA) instrument onboard the Mars Global Surveyor (MGS) spacecraft has so far observed approximately 100 impact landforms in the north polar latitudes (>60 degrees N) of Mars. Correlation of the topography with Viking Orbiter images indicate that many of these are near-center profiles, and for some of the most northern craters, multiple data passes have been acquired. The northern high latitudes of Mars may contain substantial ground ice and be topped with seasonal frost (largely CO2 with some water), forming each winter. We have analyzed various diagnostic crater topologic parameters for this high-latitude crater population with the objective of characterizing impact features in north polar terrains, and we explore whether there is evidence of interaction with ground ice, frost, dune movement, or other polar processes. We find that there are substantial topographic variations from the characteristics of midlatitude craters in the polar craters that are not readily apparent from prior images. The transition from small simple craters to large complex craters is not well defined, as was observed in the midlatitude MOLA data (transition at 7-8 km). Additionally, there appear to be additional topographic complexities such as anomalously large central structures in many polar latitude impact features. It is not yet clear if these are due to target-induced differences in the formation of the crater or post-formation modifications from polar processes.

  9. Polar Dunes Resolved by the Mars Orbiter Laser Altimeter Gridded Topography and Pulse Widths

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Neumann, Gregory A.

    2003-01-01

    The Mars Orbiter Laser Altimeter (MOLA) polar data have been refined to the extent that many features poorly imaged by Viking Orbiters are now resolved in densely gridded altimetry. Individual linear polar dunes with spacings of 0.5 km or more can be seen as well as sparsely distributed and partially mantled dunes. The refined altimetry will enable measurements of the extent and possibly volume of the north polar ergs. MOLA pulse widths have been recalibrated using inflight data, and a robust algorithm applied to solve for the surface optical impulse response. It shows the surface root-mean-square (RMS) roughness at the 75-m-diameter MOLA footprint scale, together with a geological map. While the roughness is of vital interest for landing site safety studies, a variety of geomorphological studies may also be performed. Pulse widths corrected for regional slope clearly delineate the extent of the polar dunes. The MOLA PEDR profile data have now been re-released in their entirety (Version L). The final Mission Experiment Gridded Data Records (MEGDR's) are now provided at up to 128 pixels per degree globally. Densities as high as 512 pixels per degree are available in a polar stereographic projection. A large computational effort has been expended in improving the accuracy of the MOLA altimetry themselves, both in improved orbital modeling and in after-the-fact adjustment of tracks to improve their registration at crossovers. The current release adopts the IAU2000 rotation model and cartographic frame recommended by the Mars Cartography Working Group. Adoption of the current standard will allow registration of images and profiles globally with an uncertainty of less than 100 m. The MOLA detector is still operational and is currently collecting radiometric data at 1064 nm. Seasonal images of the reflectivity of the polar caps can be generated with a resolution of about 300 m per pixel.

  10. Precise Orbit Determination for GEOSAT Follow-On Using Satellite Laser Ranging Data and Intermission Altimeter Crossovers

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Lemoine, F. G.; Rowlands, D. D.; Luthcke, S. B.; Zelensky, N. P.; Chinn, D. S.; Pavlis, D. E.; Marr, G. C.

    2001-01-01

    The U.S. Navy's GEOSAT Follow-On Spacecraft was launched on February 10, 1998 and the primary objective of the mission was to map the oceans using a radar altimeter. Following an extensive set of calibration campaigns in 1999 and 2000, the US Navy formally accepted delivery of the satellite on November 29, 2000. The spacecraft is tracked by satellite laser ranging (SLR) and Doppler (Tranet-style) beacons. Although a limited amount of GPS data were obtained, the primary mode of tracking remains satellite laser ranging. In this paper, we report on progress in orbit determination for GFO using GFO/GFO and TOPEX/GFO altimeter crossovers. We have tuned the nonconservative force model for GFO and the gravity model using SLR, Doppler and altimeter crossover data spanning over one year. Preliminary results show that the predicted radial orbit error from the gravity field covariance to 70x70 on GEOSAT was reduced from 2.6 cm in EGM96 to 1.9 cm with the addition of only five months of the GFO SLR and GFO/GFO crossover data. Further progress is possible with the addition of more data, particularly the TOPEX/GFO crossovers. We will evaluate the tuned GFO gravity model (a derivative of EGM96) using altimeter data from the GEOSAT mission. In January 2000, a limited quantity of GPS data were obtained. We will use these GPS data in conjunction with the SLR and altimeter crossover data obtained over the same time span to compute quasi-reduced dynamic orbits which will also aid in the evaluation of the tuned GFO geopotential model.

  11. Seasonal Changes in the Thickness of Martian Polar Crater Deposits From the Mars Orbiter Laser Altimeter

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Schmerr, N. C.; Garvin, J. B.; Neumann, G. A.; Sakimoto, S. E.

    2001-12-01

    This study uses near-repeat topographic profiles and gridded data from the Mars Orbiter Laser Altimeter to investigate temporal changes in several ice-filled craters in the North Polar Region of Mars. The craters we investigated are Korolev (73° N, 163° E), "Sasquatch" (77° N, 89° E) and "Frosty" (77° N, 215° E) [Garvin et. al., 2000, Icarus, 144, 329-352]. Profiles are corrected using crossovers that are not affected by seasonal changes. We find that spatially matched but temporally separated MOLA profiles of the central ice deposits within these craters show vertical variation on the order of 1-5 meters. This change in topography temporally correlates to the seasonal deposition and sublimation of frost in the North Polar Region of Mars [Zuber et al., this session] but is locally greater in magnitude. The change is also localized to the south-facing slopes of the ice deposits within the craters. This suggests that up to 5 m of carbon dioxide frost deposition and ablation may be taking place on the south-facing slopes of these craters each Martian year. This rapid change in ice deposit thickness provides a mechanism for geologically swift modification of the polar-layered terrains.

  12. Observations of the north polar region of Mars from the Mars orbiter laser altimeter.

    PubMed

    Zuber, M T; Smith, D E; Solomon, S C; Abshire, J B; Afzal, R S; Aharonson, O; Fishbaugh, K; Ford, P G; Frey, H V; Garvin, J B; Head, J W; Ivanov, A B; Johnson, C L; Muhleman, D O; Neumann, G A; Pettengill, G H; Phillips, R J; Sun, X; Zwally, H J; Banerdt, W B; Duxbury, T C

    1998-12-11

    Elevations from the Mars Orbiter Laser Altimeter (MOLA) have been used to construct a precise topographic map of the martian north polar region. The northern ice cap has a maximum elevation of 3 kilometers above its surroundings but lies within a 5-kilometer-deep hemispheric depression that is contiguous with the area into which most outflow channels emptied. Polar cap topography displays evidence of modification by ablation, flow, and wind and is consistent with a primarily H2O composition. Correlation of topography with images suggests that the cap was more spatially extensive in the past. The cap volume of 1.2 x 10(6) to 1.7 x 10(6) cubic kilometers is about half that of the Greenland ice cap. Clouds observed over the polar cap are likely composed of CO2 that condensed out of the atmosphere during northern hemisphere winter. Many clouds exhibit dynamical structure likely caused by the interaction of propagating wave fronts with surface topography. PMID:9851922

  13. Observations of the north polar region of Mars from the Mars orbiter laser altimeter

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Zuber, M. T.; Smith, D. E.; Solomon, S. C.; Abshire, J. B.; Afzal, R. S.; Aharonson, O.; Fishbaugh, K.; Ford, P. G.; Frey, H. V.; Garvin, J. B.; Head, J. W.; Ivanov, A. B.; Johnson, C. L.; Muhleman, D. O.; Neumann, G. A.; Pettengill, G. H.; Phillips, R. J.; Sun, X.; Zwally, H. J.; Banerdt, W. B.; Duxbury, T. C.

    1998-01-01

    Elevations from the Mars Orbiter Laser Altimeter (MOLA) have been used to construct a precise topographic map of the martian north polar region. The northern ice cap has a maximum elevation of 3 kilometers above its surroundings but lies within a 5-kilometer-deep hemispheric depression that is contiguous with the area into which most outflow channels emptied. Polar cap topography displays evidence of modification by ablation, flow, and wind and is consistent with a primarily H2O composition. Correlation of topography with images suggests that the cap was more spatially extensive in the past. The cap volume of 1.2 x 10(6) to 1.7 x 10(6) cubic kilometers is about half that of the Greenland ice cap. Clouds observed over the polar cap are likely composed of CO2 that condensed out of the atmosphere during northern hemisphere winter. Many clouds exhibit dynamical structure likely caused by the interaction of propagating wave fronts with surface topography.

  14. Geometric properties of Martian impact craters: Preliminary results from the Mars Orbiter Laser Altimeter

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Garvin, James B.; Frawley, James J.

    1998-12-01

    The Mars Orbiter Laser Altimeter (MOLA) acquired high spatial and vertical resolution topographic data for 18 tracks across the northern hemisphere of Mars during the Fall of 1997. It sampled 98 minimally degraded impact craters between the latitudes of 80°N and 12°S The best fitting depth (d) versus diameter (D) power-law relationship for these craters is: d = 0.14 D0.90 for simple varieties, and d = 0.25 D0.49 for complex structures. The simple-to-complex transition diameter is 8 km (+/-0.5 km). The cross-sectional “shape” of the crater cavities was determined by fitting a power-function to each profile. Variation in the exponent (n) suggest the craters flatten with increasing diameter and impact energy. The ejecta thickness is skewed suggesting that use of existing empirical expressions for the expected radial decay of ejecta thickness is inappropriate for Mars in most cases.

  15. On Orbit Receiver Performance Assessment of the Geoscience Laser Altimeter System (GLAS) on ICESAT

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Sun, Xiaoli; Abshire, James B.; Spinhirne, James D.; McGarry, Jan; Jester, Peggy L.; Yi, Donghui; Palm, Stephen P.; Lancaster, Redgie S.

    2006-01-01

    The GLAS instrument on the NASA's ICESat mission has provided over a billion measurements of the Earth surface elevation and atmosphere backscattering at both 532 and 1064-nm wavelengths. The receiver performance has stayed nearly unchanged since ICESat launch in January 2003. The altimeter receiver has achieved a less than 3-cm ranging accuracy when excluding the effects of the laser beam pointing angle determination uncertainties. The receiver can also detect surface echoes through clouds of one-way transmission as low as 5%. The 532-nm atmosphere backscattering receiver can measure aerosol and clouds with cross section as low as 1e-7/m.sr with a 1 second integration time and molecular backscattering from upper atmosphere with a 60 second integration time. The 1064-nm atmosphere backscattering receiver can measure aerosol and clouds with a cross section as low as 4e-6/m.sr. This paper gives a detailed assessment of the GLAS receiver performance based on the in-orbit calibration tests.

  16. Mars 1064 nm spectral radiance measurements determined from the receiver noise response of the Mars Orbiter Laser Altimeter.

    PubMed

    Sun, Xiaoli; Neumann, Gregory A; Abshire, James B; Zuber, Maria T

    2006-06-10

    A technique was developed to compute the radiance of the scene viewed by the optical receiver of the Mars Orbiter Laser Altimeter. The technique used the detection threshold and the false detection rate of the receiver to provide a passive radiometry measurement of Mars at the 1064 nm wavelength over a 2 nm bandwidth and subkilometer spatial resolution in addition to the altimetry and active radiometry measurements. The passive radiometry measurement is shown to have a 2% or better precision and has been stable over several Martian years. We describe the principle of operation of the instrument and its calibration and assess its performance from sample orbital measurements. PMID:16761033

  17. Estimation of the on-orbit distortion of the Mars Orbiter Laser Altimeter (MOLA II) primary mirror

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Generie, Pamela; Hayden, William L.

    1996-11-01

    This paper describes the analyses performed to estimate the on-orbit distortion of the Mars Orbiter Laser Altimeter (MOLA II) primary mirror. MOLA II is one of five scientific instruments that will be flown on the Mars Global Surveyor. The MOLA II instrument will map the surface profile of Mars for a full Marian year to a resolution of 2 meters vertical and 160 meters horizontal. The MOLA II telescope is an f/6 Cassegrain telescope with a 0.85 milliradian (mrad) field of view. The telescope is made entirely of Brush Wellman S200F vacuum hot pressed beryllium. The primary mirror diameter is 508 mm with a base radius of curvature of 711.2 mm. This mirror is plated first with electroless nickel and then with electrolytic gold. The purpose of these analyses was (1) to estimate the on-orbit distortion of the large primary mirror due to thermal loading, interface stresses, and gravity release and (2) to calculate the expected damage to the mirror surface due to micrometeroid impacts. A detailed NASA structural analysis program finite element model was used as a tool for evaluating the mirror performance. The results of the analyses indicate that a stability error of 2.4 microns peak-to-valley and 0.6 microns root mean square is expected for the on-orbit distortion of the primary mirror surface. The estimated surface damage due to micrometeoroids is 0.03 cm2, which is 0.002 percent of the total surface area. Both of these results are within mission acceptance parameters.

  18. Global Geometric Properties of Martian Impact Craters: A Preliminary Assessment Using Mars Orbiter Laser Altimeter (MOLA)

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Garvin, J. B.; Sakimoto, S. E. H.; Schnetzler, C.; Frawley, J. J.

    1999-01-01

    Impact craters on Mars have been used to provide fundamental insights into the properties of the martian crust, the role of volatiles, the relative age of the surface, and on the physics of impact cratering in the Solar System. Before the three-dimensional information provided by the Mars Orbiter Laser Altimeter (MOLA) instrument which is currently operating in Mars orbit aboard the Mars Global Surveyor (MGS), impact features were characterized morphologically using orbital images from Mariner 9 and Viking. Fresh-appearing craters were identified and measurements of their geometric properties were derived from various image-based methods. MOLA measurements can now provide a global sample of topographic cross-sections of martian impact features as small as approx. 2 km in diameter, to basin-scale features. We have previously examined MOLA cross-sections of Northern Hemisphere and North Polar Region impact features, but were unable to consider the global characteristics of these ubiquitous landforms. Here we present our preliminary assessment of the geometric properties of a globally-distributed sample of martian impact craters, most of which were sampled during the initial stages of the MGS mapping mission (i.e., the first 600 orbits). Our aim is to develop a framework for reconsidering theories concerning impact cratering in the martian environment. This first global analysis is focused upon topographically-fresh impact craters, defined here on the basis of MOLA topographic profiles that cross the central cavities of craters that can be observed in Viking-based MDIM global image mosaics. We have considered crater depths, rim heights, ejecta topologies, cross-sectional "shapes", and simple physical models for ejecta emplacement. To date (May, 1999), we have measured the geometric properties of over 1300 impact craters in the 2 to 350 km diameter size interval. A large fraction of these measured craters were sampled with cavity-center cross-sections during the first

  19. Martian Polar Region Impact Craters: Topographical Perspectives from the Mars Orbiter Laser Altimeter

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Garvin, J. B.; Sakimoto, S. E. H.; Frawley, J. J.; Matias, A.

    1998-01-01

    The Mars Orbiter Laser Altimeter (MOLA) has acquired over 100 topographic cross-sections of impact landforms in the polar regions of Mars as part of Mars Global Surveyor (MGS) Science Phasing Orbit observations during the period from April to July, 1998. These MOLA topographic profiles offer the first three-dimensional perspectives of high latitude craters on Mars yet available, and provide evidence of landform geometries not previously recognized. Indeed, the relatively poor quality of Viking Orbiter images of many high northern latitude regions has allowed the MOLA data to provide insights into the cavities and ejecta topologies of non-degraded impact landforms that have clearly experienced interactions with condensates, either as part of their formation, or as a post-modification stage effect. Here we report a preliminary summary of the results associated with topographic measurements for a statistically significant population of impact features all of which lie north of 60N latitude. MOLA sampled four impact features with frost-related interior deposits, including the 81 km (diameter) Korolev feature. In several cases, there is evidence from near-centerline MOLA cross-sections of crater interior features (i.e., central peak or ice-dust deposits) that are anomalously large relative to the crater cavity. Central structures that make up more than 50% of the volume of a crater cavity are observed, suggesting that either substantial accumulation of mantling materials has occurred, or that crater excavation triggered production of volume-enhancing materials (ice?). Pedestal craters sampled by MOLA also attest to enhanced production of ejecta materials in high latitude terrains. For example, many of the pedestal craters suggest a volume of ejecta (Ve) to volume of cavity (Vc) ratio far in excess of 1.0 (i.e., over 3.0), even in cases where the floor of the cavity appears unfilled. Finally, the well-defined transitions between simple and complex craters observed in

  20. Lunar phase function at 1064 nm from Lunar Orbiter Laser Altimeter passive and active radiometry

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Barker, M. K.; Sun, X.; Mazarico, E.; Neumann, G. A.; Zuber, M. T.; Smith, D. E.

    2016-07-01

    We present initial calibration and results of passive radiometry collected by the Lunar Orbiter Laser Altimeter onboard the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter over the course of 12 months. After correcting for time- and temperature-dependent dark noise and detector responsivity variations, the LOLA passive radiometry measurements are brought onto the absolute radiance scale of the SELENE Spectral Profiler. The resulting photometric precision is estimated to be ∼5%. We leverage the unique ability of LOLA to measure normal albedo to explore the 1064 nm phase function's dependence on various geologic parameters. On a global scale, we find that iron abundance and optical maturity (quantified by FeO and OMAT) are the dominant controlling parameters. Titanium abundance (TiO2), surface roughness on decimeter to decameter scales, and soil thermophysical properties have a smaller effect, but the latter two are correlated with OMAT, indicating that exposure age is the driving force behind their effects in a globally-averaged sense. The phase function also exhibits a dependence on surface slope at ∼300 m baselines, possibly the result of mass wasting exposing immature material and/or less space weathering due to reduced sky visibility. Modeling the photometric function in the Hapke framework, we find that, relative to the highlands, the maria exhibit decreased backscattering, a smaller opposition effect (OE) width, and a smaller OE amplitude. Immature highlands regolith has a higher backscattering fraction and a larger OE width compared to mature highlands regolith. Within the maria, the backscattering fraction and OE width show little dependence on TiO2 and OMAT. Variations in the phase function shape at large phase angles are observed in and around the Copernican-aged Jackson crater, including its dark halo, a putative impact melt deposit. Finally, the phase function of the Reiner Gamma Formation behaves more optically immature than is typical for its composition and OMAT

  1. Lunar Phase Function at 1064 Nm from Lunar Orbiter Laser Altimeter Passive and Active Radiometry

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Barker, M. K.; Sun, X.; Mazarico, E.; Neumann, G. A.; Zuber, M. T.; Smith, D. E.

    2016-01-01

    We present initial calibration and results of passive radiometry collected by the Lunar Orbiter Laser Altimeter onboard the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter over the course of 12 months. After correcting for time- and temperature-dependent dark noise and detector responsivity variations, the LOLA passive radiometry measurements are brought onto the absolute radiance scale of the SELENE Spectral Profiler. The resulting photometric precision is estimated to be 5%. We leverage the unique ability of LOLA to measure normal albedo to explore the 1064 nm phase function's dependence on various geologic parameters. On a global scale, we find that iron abundance and optical maturity (quantified by FeO and OMAT) are the dominant controlling parameters. Titanium abundance (TiO2), surface roughness on decimeter to decameter scales, and soil thermo- physical properties have a smaller effect, but the latter two are correlated with OMAT, indicating that exposure age is the driving force behind their effects in a globally-averaged sense. The phase function also exhibits a dependence on surface slope at approximately 300 m baselines, possibly the result of mass wasting exposing immature material and/or less space weathering due to reduced sky visibility. Modeling the photometric function in the Hapke framework, we find that, relative to the highlands, the maria exhibit decreased backscattering, a smaller opposition effect (OE) width, and a smaller OE amplitude. Immature highlands regolith has a higher backscattering fraction and a larger OE width compared to mature highlands regolith. Within the maria, the backscattering fraction and OE width show little dependence on TiO2 and OMAT. Variations in the phase function shape at large phase angles are observed in and around the Copernican-aged Jackson crater, including its dark halo, a putative impact melt deposit. Finally, the phase function of the Reiner Gamma Formation behaves more optically immature than is typical for its composition

  2. Radiometry Measurements of Mars at 1064 nm Using the Mars Orbiter Laser Altimeter

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Sun, Xiao-Li; Abshire, James B.; Neumann, Gregory A.; Zuber, Maria T.; Smith, David E. (Technical Monitor)

    2001-01-01

    Measurements by the Mars Orbiter Laser Altimeter (MOLA) on board the Mars Global Surveyor (MGS) may be used to provides a radiometric measurement of Mars in addition to the topographic measurement. We will describe the principle of operation, a mathematical model, and the receiver calibration in this presentation. MOLA was designed primarily to measure Mars topography, surface roughness end the bidirectional reflectance to the laser beam. To achieve the highest sensitivity the receiver detection threshold is dynamically adjusted to be as low as possible while keeping a predetermined false alarm rate. The average false alarm rate 29 monitored in real time on board MOLA via a noise counter, whose output is fed to the threshold control loop. The false alarm rate at a given threshold is a function of the detector output noise which is the sum of the photo detector, shot noise due to the background light seen by the detector and the dark noise. A mathematical model has been developed that can be used to numerically solve for the optical background power given the MOLA threshold setting and the average noise count. The radiance of Mars can then be determined by dividing the optical power by the solid angle subtended by the MOLA receiver, the receiver optical band-width, end the Mars surface area within the receiver field of view. The phase angle which is the sun-Mars-MOLA angle is available from the MGS database. MOLA also measures simultaneously the bidirectional reflectance of Mars vie its 106-lum loser beam at nadir with nearly zero phase angle. The optical bandwidth of the MOLA receiver is 2um full width at half maximum (FWHM) and centered at 106-lum. The receiver field of view is 0.95mrad FWHM. The nominated spacecraft altitude is 100km and the ground track speed is about 3km/s. Under normal operation, the noise counter are read and the threshold levels are updated at 1Hz. The receiver sensitivity is limited by the detector dark noise to about 0.1nW, which

  3. Robust Control for the Mercury Laser Altimeter

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Rosenberg, Jacob S.

    2006-01-01

    Mercury Laser Altimeter Science Algorithms is a software system for controlling the laser altimeter aboard the Messenger spacecraft, which is to enter into orbit about Mercury in 2011. The software will control the altimeter by dynamically modifying hardware inputs for gain, threshold, channel-disable flags, range-window start location, and range-window width, by using ranging information provided by the spacecraft and noise counts from instrument hardware. In addition, because of severe bandwidth restrictions, the software also selects returns for downlink.

  4. Mars 1064-nm Spectral Radiance Measurements from the Receiver Noise Response of the Mars Orbiter Laser Altimeter

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Sun, Xiaoli; Neumann, Gregory A.; Abshire, James B.; Zuber, Maria T.

    2005-01-01

    The Mars Orbiter Laser Altimeter not only provides surface topography from the laser pulse time-of-flight, but also two radiometric measurements, the active measurement of transmitted and reflected laser pulse energy, and the passive measurement of reflected solar illumination. The passive radiometry measurement is accomplished in a novel fashion by monitoring the noise density at the output of the photodetector and solving for the amount of background light. The passive radiometry measurements provide images of Mars at 1064-nm wavelength over a 2 nm bandwidth with sub-km spatial resolution and with 2% or better precision under full illumination. We describe in this paper the principle of operation, the receiver mathematical model, its calibration, and performance assessment from sample measurement data.

  5. Vertical Roughness of the Polar Regions of Mars from Mars Orbiter Laser Altimeter Pulse-Width Measurements

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Garvin, J. B.; Frawley, J. J.; Sakimoto, S. E. H.

    2000-08-01

    The sub-kilometer scale vertical roughness of the martian surface in the polar regions can be investigated using calibrated, optical pulse width data provided by the Mars Orbiter Laser Altimeter (MOLA). Garvin and others have previously discussed initial observations of what we have called "total vertical roughness" or TVR, as derived from MOLA optical pulse width observations acquired during the pre-mapping phases of the Mars Global Surveyor (MGS) mission. Here we present the first assessment of the Mars polar region properties of the TVR parameter from more than nine months of continuous mapping by MOLA as part of the MGS mapping mission. Other than meter-scale surface properties directly inferred from Mars Orbiter Camera (MOC) images, MOLA measurements of footprint-scale TVR represent the only direct measurements of the local vertical structure of the martian surface at approx. 150 m length scales. These types of data have previously been shown to correlate with geologic process histories for terrestrial desert surfaces on the basis of Shuttle Laser Altimeter (SLA) observations. Additional information is obtained in the original extended abstract.

  6. Vertical Roughness of the Polar Regions of Mars from Mars Orbiter Laser Altimeter Pulse-Width Measurements

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Garvin, J. B.; Frawley, J. J.; Sakimoto, S. E. H.

    2000-01-01

    The sub-kilometer scale vertical roughness of the martian surface in the polar regions can be investigated using calibrated, optical pulse width data provided by the Mars Orbiter Laser Altimeter (MOLA). Garvin and others have previously discussed initial observations of what we have called "total vertical roughness" or TVR, as derived from MOLA optical pulse width observations acquired during the pre-mapping phases of the Mars Global Surveyor (MGS) mission. Here we present the first assessment of the Mars polar region properties of the TVR parameter from more than nine months of continuous mapping by MOLA as part of the MGS mapping mission. Other than meter-scale surface properties directly inferred from Mars Orbiter Camera (MOC) images, MOLA measurements of footprint-scale TVR represent the only direct measurements of the local vertical structure of the martian surface at approx. 150 m length scales. These types of data have previously been shown to correlate with geologic process histories for terrestrial desert surfaces on the basis of Shuttle Laser Altimeter (SLA) observations. Additional information is obtained in the original extended abstract.

  7. Orientale Impact Basin and Vicinity: Topographic Characterization from Lunar Orbiter Laser Altimeter (LOLA) Data

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Head, J. W.; Smith, D. E.; Zuber, M. T.; Neumann, G. A.; Fassett, C.; Mazarico, E.; Torrence, M. H.; Dickson, J.

    2009-12-01

    The 920 km diameter Orientale basin is the youngest and most well-preserved large multi-ringed impact basin on the Moon; it has not been significantly filled with mare basalts, as have other lunar impact basins, and thus the basin interior deposits and ring structures are very well-exposed and provide major insight into the formation and evolution of planetary multi-ringed impact basins. We report here on the acquisition of new altimetry data for the Orientale basin from the Lunar Orbiter Laser Altimeter (LOLA) on board the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter. Pre-basin structure had a major effect on the formation of Orientale; we have mapped dozens of impact craters underlying both the Orientale ejecta (Hevelius Formation-HF) and the unit between the basin rim (Cordillera ring-CR) and the Outer Rook ring (OR) (known as the Montes Rook Formation-MRF), ranging up in size to the Mendel-Rydberg basin just to the south of Orientale; this crater-basin topography has influenced the topographic development of the basin rim (CR), sometimes causing the basin rim to lie at a topographically lower level than the inner basin rings (OR and Inner Rook-IR). In contrast to some previous interpretations, the distribution of these features supports the interpretation that the OR ring is the closest approximation to the basin excavation cavity. The total basin interior topography is highly variable and typically ranges ~6-7 km below the surrounding pre-basin surface, with significant variations in different quadrants. The inner basin depression is about 2-4 km deep below the IR plateau and these data permit the quantitative assessment of post-basin-formation thermal response to impact energy input and uplifted isotherms. The Maunder Formation (MF) consists of smooth plains (on the inner basin depression walls and floor) and corrugated deposits (on the IR plateau); this topographic configuration supports the interpretation that the MF consists of different facies of impact melt. The inner

  8. On the calibration of Mars Orbiter Laser Altimeter surface roughness estimates using high-resolution DTMs

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Poole, W.; Muller, J.-P.; Gupta, S.

    2012-04-01

    Planetary surface roughness is critical in the selection of suitable landing sites for robotic lander or roving missions. It has also been used in the identification of terrain, for better calibration of radar returns and improved understanding of aerodynamic roughness [1]. One of the secondary science goals of the Mars Orbiter Laser Altimeter (MOLA) was the study of surface roughness at 100 m, using the backscatter pulse width of the laser pulse, which has a footprint of 168 m in diameter [2]. The pulse width values in the final release (version L) of the MOLA Precision Experiment Data Record (PEDR) have been corrected for across track slopes and the removal of 'bad points', and footprint diameter was revised to 75 m, with a 35 m response length in [3]. We look here at comparing surface roughness values derived from the MOLA pulse-width data with surface roughness estimates derived at various scales from high-resolution digital terrain models (DTMs) to determine if these theoretically derived surface roughness lengths are physically meaningful. The final four potential landing sites for Mars Science Laboratory were used in this study, as they have extensive HiRISE (1m) and HRSC (50m) DTM coverage [4]. Pulse width data from both the MOLA PEDR (version L) and the data used in [3] was collected and compared for each of the sites against surface roughness estimates at various scales from HiRISE, and HRSC, DTMs using the RMS height. This assumed a circular footprint for each MOLA footprint and that the horizontal geolocation of the PEDR MOLA footprints was sufficiently accurate to only extract those DTM points which lay inside the footprints. Results from the MOLA PEDR data were extremely poor, and show no correlation with surface roughness measurements from DTMs. Results using the corrected data in [3] were mixed. Eberswalde and Holden Craters both show significantly improved correlations for a variety of surface roughness scales. The best correlations were found to

  9. Topography of the northern hemisphere of Mars from the Mars Orbiter Laser Altimeter

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Smith, D. E.; Zuber, M. T.; Frey, H. V.; Garvin, J. B.; Head, J. W.; Muhleman, D. O.; Pettengill, G. H.; Phillips, R. J.; Solomon, S. C.; Zwally, H. J.; Banerdt, W. B.; Duxbury, T. C.

    1998-01-01

    The first 18 tracks of laser altimeter data across the northern hemisphere of Mars from the Mars Global Surveyor spacecraft show that the planet at latitudes north of 50 degrees is exceptionally flat; slopes and surface roughness increase toward the equator. The polar layered terrain appears to be a thick ice-rich formation with a non-equilibrium planform indicative of ablation near the periphery. Slope relations suggest that the northern Tharsis province was uplifted in the past. A profile across Ares Vallis channel suggests that the discharge through the channel was much greater than previously estimated. The martian atmosphere shows significant 1-micrometer atmospheric opacities, particularly in low-lying areas such as Valles Marineris.

  10. Topography of the northern hemisphere of Mars from the Mars Orbiter Laser Altimeter.

    PubMed

    Smith, D E; Zuber, M T; Frey, H V; Garvin, J B; Head, J W; Muhleman, D O; Pettengill, G H; Phillips, R J; Solomon, S C; Zwally, H J; Banerdt, W B; Duxbury, T C

    1998-03-13

    The first 18 tracks of laser altimeter data across the northern hemisphere of Mars from the Mars Global Surveyor spacecraft show that the planet at latitudes north of 50 degrees is exceptionally flat; slopes and surface roughness increase toward the equator. The polar layered terrain appears to be a thick ice-rich formation with a non-equilibrium planform indicative of ablation near the periphery. Slope relations suggest that the northern Tharsis province was uplifted in the past. A profile across Ares Vallis channel suggests that the discharge through the channel was much greater than previously estimated. The martian atmosphere shows significant 1-micrometer atmospheric opacities, particularly in low-lying areas such as Valles Marineris. PMID:9497281

  11. The Keck "Mars 2000" Project: Using Mars Orbiter Laser Altimeter Data to Assess Geological Processes and Regional Stratigraphy Near Orcus Patera and Marte Vallis on Mars

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Grosfils, E. B.; Sakimoto, S. E. H.; Mendelson, C. V.; Bleacher, J. E.

    2001-01-01

    During the Keck 'Mars 2000' summer project 10 undergraduates (rising juniors) used Mars Orbiter Laser Altimeter (MOLA) data to study a 19x14 degree region they identified as a potential Mars 2003 landing site. Here we introduce the project science and organization. Additional information is contained in the original extended abstract.

  12. Multibeam Laser Altimeter for Planetary Topographic Mapping

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Garvin, J. B.; Bufton, J. L.; Harding, D. J.

    1993-01-01

    Laser altimetry provides an active, high-resolution, high-accuracy method for measurement of planetary and asteroid surface topography. The basis of the measurement is the timing of the roundtrip propagation of short-duration pulses of laser radiation between a spacecraft and the surface. Vertical, or elevation, resolution of the altimetry measurement is determined primarily by laser pulse width, surface-induced spreading in time of the reflected pulse, and the timing precision of the altimeter electronics. With conventional gain-switched pulses from solid-state lasers and nanosecond resolution timing electronics, submeter vertical range resolution is possible anywhere from orbital altitudes of approximately 1 km to altitudes of several hundred kilometers. Horizontal resolution is a function of laser beam footprint size at the surface and the spacing between successive laser pulses. Laser divergence angle and altimeter platform height above the surface determine the laser footprint size at the surface, while laser pulse repetition rate, laser transmitter beam configuration, and altimeter platform velocity determine the spacing between successive laser pulses. Multiple laser transmitters in a single laser altimeter instrument that is orbiting above a planetary or asteroid surface could provide across-track as well as along-track coverage that can be used to construct a range image (i.e., topographic map) of the surface. We are developing a pushbroom laser altimeter instrument concept that utilizes a linear array of laser transmitters to provide contiguous across-track and along-track data. The laser technology is based on the emerging monolithic combination of individual, 1-sq cm diode-pumped Nd:YAG laser pulse emitters. Details of the multi-emitter laser transmitter technology, the instrument configuration, and performance calculations for a realistic Discovery-class mission will be presented.

  13. Mars Orbiter Laser Altimeter Radiometry: Phase Functions and the Optical Depth of Nocturnal Water Ice Clouds

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Neumann, G. A.; Barker, M. K.; Sun, X.

    2014-12-01

    Over the course of more than 3 Mars years the MOLA instrument on board Mars Global Surveyor (from 1999 to the loss of MGS in Nov. 2006) obtained passive reflectance measurements of Mars at 1064 nm wavelength from the solar background. As an altimeter, the quantity of light removed from a laser beam by scattering or absorption during the roundtrip to the surface may be calculated knowing the energy returned, the surface geometric albedo and the instrument parameters for each laser shot. These opacity measurements indicate the combined effects of dust and condensates, particularly those seen during during the night. The measure of opacity, to optical depths exceeding unity, correlates well with daytime measurements by the Hubble Space Telescope and with the broadband Thermal Emission Spectrometer. Applying a simple phase function to passive radiometric observations obtained at emission angles varying from 0 to 80 degrees, upper and lower limits are obtained for atmospheric opacity as a function of season and time of day. The implications for the effects of nocturnal water ice clouds on radiative transfer, and for future applications to the detection of icy plumes from moons of the outer solar system will be discussed.

  14. Ranging performance of satellite laser altimeters

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Gardner, Chester S.

    1992-01-01

    Topographic mapping of the earth, moon and planets can be accomplished with high resolution and accuracy using satellite laser altimeters. These systems employ nanosecond laser pulses and microradian beam divergences to achieve submeter vertical range resolution from orbital altitudes of several hundred kilometers. Here, we develop detailed expressions for the range and pulse width measurement accuracies and use the results to evaluate the ranging performances of several satellite laser altimeters currently under development by NASA for launch during the next decade. Our analysis includes the effects of the target surface characteristics, spacecraft pointing jitter and waveform digitizer characteristics. The results show that ranging accuracy is critically dependent on the pointing accuracy and stability of the altimeter especially over high relief terrain where surface slopes are large. At typical orbital altitudes of several hundred kilometers, single-shot accuracies of a few centimeters can be achieved only when the pointing jitter is on the order of 10 mu rad or less.

  15. Improved calibration of reflectance data from the LRO Lunar Orbiter Laser Altimeter (LOLA) and implications for space weathering

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Lemelin, M.; Lucey, P. G.; Neumann, G. A.; Mazarico, E. M.; Barker, M. K.; Kakazu, A.; Trang, D.; Smith, D. E.; Zuber, M. T.

    2016-07-01

    The Lunar Orbiter Laser Altimeter (LOLA) experiment on Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) is a laser altimeter that also measures the strength of the return pulse from the lunar surface. These data have been used to estimate the reflectance of the lunar surface, including regions lacking direct solar illumination. A new calibration of these data is presented that features lower uncertainties overall and more consistent results in the polar regions. We use these data, along with newly available maps of the distribution of lunar maria, also derived from LRO instrument data, to investigate a newly discovered dependence of the albedo of the lunar maria on latitude (Hemingway et al., [2015]). We confirm that there is an increase in albedo with latitude in the lunar maria, and confirm that this variation is not an artifact arising from the distribution of compositions within the lunar maria, using data from the Lunar Prospector Neutron Spectrometer. Radiative transfer modeling of the albedo dependence within the lunar maria is consistent with the very weak to absent dependence of albedo on latitude in the lunar highlands; the lower abundance of the iron source for space weathering products in the lunar highlands weakens the latitude dependence to the extent that it is only weakly detectable in current data. In addition, photometric models and normalization may take into account the fact that the lunar albedo is latitude dependent, but this dependence can cause errors in normalized reflectance of at most 2% for the majority of near-nadir geometries. We also investigate whether the latitude dependent albedo may have obscured detection of small mare deposits at high latitudes. We find that small regions at high latitudes with low roughness similar to the lunar maria are not mare deposits that may have been misclassified owing to high albedos imposed by the latitude dependence. Finally, we suggest that the only modest correlations among space weathering indicators defined

  16. Two Mars Years of Clouds Detected by the Mars Orbiter Laser Altimeter

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Neumann, G. A.; Smith, D. E.; Zuber, M. T.

    2002-01-01

    MOLA operated as an atmospheric lidar as well as an altimeter. We present results spanning two Mars years of observations, and some observations concerning cloud waveforms and snow. Additional information is contained in the original extended abstract.

  17. The Geoscience Laser Altimeter System Laser Transmitter

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Afzal, R. S.; Dallas, J. L.; Yu, A. W.; Mamakos, W. A.; Lukemire, A.; Schroeder, B.; Malak, A.

    2000-01-01

    The Geoscience Laser Altimeter System (GLAS), scheduled to launch in 2001, is a laser altimeter and lidar for tile Earth Observing System's (EOS) ICESat mission. The laser transmitter requirements, design and qualification test results for this space- based remote sensing instrument are presented.

  18. The steepest slopes on the Moon from Lunar Orbiter Laser Altimeter (LOLA) Data: Spatial Distribution and Correlation with Geologic Features

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kreslavsky, Mikhail A.; Head, James W.

    2016-07-01

    We calculated topographic gradients over the surface of the Moon at a 25 m baseline using data obtained by the Lunar Orbiter Laser Altimeter (LOLA) instrument onboard the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) spacecraft. The relative spatial distribution of steep slopes can be reliably obtained, although some technical characteristics of the LOLA dataset preclude statistical studies of slope orientation. The derived slope-frequency distribution revealed a steep rollover for slopes close to the angle of repose. Slopes significantly steeper than the angle of repose are almost absent on the Moon due to (1) the general absence of cohesion/strength of the fractured and fragmented megaregolith of the lunar highlands, and (2) the absence of geological processes producing steep-slopes in the recent geological past. The majority of slopes steeper than 32°-35° are associated with relatively young large impact craters. We demonstrate that these impact craters progressively lose their steepest slopes. We also found that features of Early Imbrian and older ages have almost no slopes steeper than 35°. We interpret this to be due to removal of all steep slopes by the latest basin-forming impact (Orientale), probably by global seismic shaking. The global spatial distribution of the steepest slopes correlates moderately well with the predicted spatial distribution of impact rate; however, a significant paucity of steep slopes in the southern farside remains unexplained.

  19. Ranging performance of satellite laser altimeters

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Gardner, Chester S.

    1992-01-01

    Detailed expressions for the range and pulse width measurement accuracies are developed and used to evaluate the ranging performances of several satellite laser altimeters currently under development by NASA for launch during the next decade. The analysis includes the effects of the target surface characteristics, spacecraft pointing jitter, and waveform digitizer characteristics. The results show that ranging accuracy is critically dependent on the pointing accuracy and stability of the altimeter especially over high relief terrain where surface slopes are large. At typical orbital altitudes of several hundred kilometers, single-shot accuracies of a few centimeters can be achieved only when the pointing jitter is on the order of 10 microrad or less.

  20. In Orbit Performance of Si Avalanche Photodiode Single Photon Counting Modules in the Geoscience Laser Altimeter System on ICESat

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Sun, X.; Jester, P. L.; Palm, S. P.; Abshire, J. B.; Spinhime, J. D.; Krainak, M. A.

    2006-01-01

    Si avalanche photodiode (APD) single photon counting modules (SPCMs) are used in the Geoscience Laser Altimeter System (GLAS) on Ice, Cloud, anti land Elevation Satellite (ICESat), currently in orbit measuring Earth surface elevation and atmosphere backscattering. These SPCMs are used to measure cloud and aerosol backscatterings to the GLAS laser light at 532-nm wavelength with 60-70% quantum efficiencies and up to 15 millions/s maximum count rates. The performance of the SPCMs has been closely monitored since ICESat launch on January 12, 2003. There has been no measurable change in the quantum efficiency, as indicated by the average photon count rates in response to the background light from the sunlit earth. The linearity and the afterpulsing seen from the cloud and surface backscatterings profiles have been the same as those during ground testing. The detector dark count rates monitored while the spacecraft was in the dark side of the globe have increased almost linearly at about 60 counts/s per day due to space radiation damage. The radiation damage appeared to be independent of the device temperature and power states. There was also an abrupt increase in radiation damage during the solar storm in 28-30 October 2003. The observed radiation damage is a factor of two to three lower than the expected and sufficiently low to provide useful atmosphere backscattering measurements through the end of the ICESat mission. To date, these SPCMs have been in orbit for more than three years. The accumulated operating time to date has reached 290 days (7000 hours). These SPCMs have provided unprecedented receiver sensitivity and dynamic range in ICESat atmosphere backscattering measurements.

  1. Lunar Impact Basins: Stratigraphy, Sequence and Ages from Superposed Impact Crater Populations Measured from Lunar Orbiter Laser Altimeter (LOLA) Data

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Fassett, C. I.; Head, J. W.; Kadish, S. J.; Mazarico, E.; Neumann, G. A.; Smith, D. E.; Zuber, M. T.

    2012-01-01

    Impact basin formation is a fundamental process in the evolution of the Moon and records the history of impactors in the early solar system. In order to assess the stratigraphy, sequence, and ages of impact basins and the impactor population as a function of time, we have used topography from the Lunar Orbiter Laser Altimeter (LOLA) on the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) to measure the superposed impact crater size-frequency distributions for 30 lunar basins (D = 300 km). These data generally support the widely used Wilhelms sequence of lunar basins, although we find significantly higher densities of superposed craters on many lunar basins than derived by Wilhelms (50% higher densities). Our data also provide new insight into the timing of the transition between distinct crater populations characteristic of ancient and young lunar terrains. The transition from a lunar impact flux dominated by Population 1 to Population 2 occurred before the mid-Nectarian. This is before the end of the period of rapid cratering, and potentially before the end of the hypothesized Late Heavy Bombardment. LOLA-derived crater densities also suggest that many Pre-Nectarian basins, such as South Pole-Aitken, have been cratered to saturation equilibrium. Finally, both crater counts and stratigraphic observations based on LOLA data are applicable to specific basin stratigraphic problems of interest; for example, using these data, we suggest that Serenitatis is older than Nectaris, and Humboldtianum is younger than Crisium. Sample return missions to specific basins can anchor these measurements to a Pre-Imbrian absolute chronology.

  2. Engineering study for pallet adapting the Apollo laser altimeter and photographic camera system for the Lidar Test Experiment on orbital flight tests 2 and 4

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Kuebert, E. J.

    1977-01-01

    A Laser Altimeter and Mapping Camera System was included in the Apollo Lunar Orbital Experiment Missions. The backup system, never used in the Apollo Program, is available for use in the Lidar Test Experiments on the STS Orbital Flight Tests 2 and 4. Studies were performed to assess the problem associated with installation and operation of the Mapping Camera System in the STS. They were conducted on the photographic capabilities of the Mapping Camera System, its mechanical and electrical interface with the STS, documentation, operation and survivability in the expected environments, ground support equipment, test and field support.

  3. Topography, roughness, layering, and slope properties of the Medusae Fossae Formation from Mars Orbiter Laser Altimeter (MOLA) and Mars Orbiter Camera (MOC) data

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Sakimoto, Susan E. H.; Frey, Herbert V.; Garvin, James B.; Roark, James H.

    1999-10-01

    The enigmatic Medusae Fossae Formation (MFF) is one of the youngest surficial deposits on Mars. Previously proposed modes of origin include pyroclastic volcanism, eolian mantling, polar sedimentation, carbonate platform, and paleoshorelines. In order to assess mapped member boundaries and constrain likely origin processes we analyze five topographic transects from the Mars Orbiter Laser Altimeter (MOLA) collected during the aerobraking hiatus orbit period of the Mars Global Surveyor (MGS) mission together with several simultaneously acquired Mars Orbiter Camera (MOC) images to examine the regional and local variations in the relief, slopes, vertical roughness, and relative elevations of mapped MFF members. We find that the members are not particularly flat or level but have average thicknesses of many hundreds of meters and substantially more internal relief than previously thought. Locally, the MFF members are sometimes distinguishable by slope, elevation, and surface roughness characteristics, but no unique formation-wide characteristics are apparent in this analysis of the limited initial data. The relative elevations of the mapped members are not consistent with undeformed planar horizontal layers but may be consistent with layers draped over preexisting topography with subsequent partial removal. Analysis of the initial coincident MOC and MOLA hiatus data suggests the possible presence of local layers, as well as the mislocation of at least a few MFF member and formation boundaries. We conclude that carbonate and shoreline deposit origins are not as well supported in the initial MGS data as they were in the Viking data and that the MFF formation and member boundaries should be reexamined in conjunction with the incoming new MGS data.

  4. Martian Polar Impact Craters: A Preliminary Assessment Using Mars Orbiter Laser Altimeter (MOLA)

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Sakimoto, S. E. H.; Garvin, J. B.

    1999-01-01

    Our knowledge of the age of the layered polar deposits and their activity in the volatile cycling and climate history of Mars is based to a large extent on their apparent ages as determined from crater counts. Interpretation of the polar stratigraphy (in terms of climate change) is complicated by reported differences in the ages of the northern and southern layered deposits. The north polar residual ice deposits are thought to be relatively young, based on the reported lack of any fresh impact craters in Viking Orbiter Images. Herkenhoff et al., report no craters at all on the North polar layered deposits or ice cap, and placed an upper bound on the surface age (or, alternatively, the vertical resurfacing rate) of 100 thousand years to 10 million years, suggesting that the north polar region is an active resurfacing site. In contrast, the southern polar region was found to have at least 15 impact craters in the layered deposits and cap. Plaut et al, concluded that the surface was less than or = 120 million years old. This reported age difference factor of 100 to 1000 increases complexity in climate and volatile modeling. Recent MOLA results for the topography of the northern polar cap document a handful or more of possible craters, which could result in revised age or resurfacing estimates for the northern cap. This study is a preliminary look at putative craters in both polar caps. Additional information is contained in the original extended abstract.

  5. Mars Observer Laser Altimeter: laser transmitter.

    PubMed

    Afzal, R S

    1994-05-20

    The Mars Observer Laser Altimeter utilizes a space-qualified diode-laser-pumped Q-switched Nd:YAG laser transmitter. A simple numerical model of the laser energetics is presented, which predicts the pulse energy and pulse width. Comparisons with the measured data available are made. The temperature dependence of the laser transmitter is also predicted. This dependence prediction is particularly important in determining the operational temperature range of the transmitter. Knowing the operational temperature range is especially important for a passive, thermally controlled laser operating in space. PMID:20885685

  6. Multishot laser altimeter: design and performance.

    PubMed

    Sun, X; Abshire, J B; Davidson, F M

    1993-08-20

    The maximum measurement range of a laser altimeter can be extended by averaging the measurements from multiple laser shots at the same target. We present the principles of operation and design of such a multishot laser altimeter, which uses a Si avalanche photodiode detector. As an example, the performance of a spaceborne multishot altimeter containing components similar to those of the single-shot Mars Observer Laser Altimeter are given under operating conditions that would be encountered near Saturn. With 100-shot averages, we show that the multishot laser altimeter is capable of accurate ranging at fly-by distances of 10,000 km from an icy satellite. With 100-shot averages, the minimum optical signal level at a 90% correct-measurement probability under nighttime background is 9.8 detected signal photons per pulse as compared with 76 photons per pulse with a single shot. PMID:20830120

  7. Stratigraphy, Sequence, and Crater Populations of Lunar Impact Basins from Lunar Orbiter Laser Altimeter (LOLA) Data: Implications for the Late Heavy Bombardment

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Fassett, C. I.; Head, J. W.; Kadish, S. J.; Mazarico, E.; Neumann, G. A.; Smith, D. E.; Zuber, M. T.

    2012-01-01

    New measurements of the topography of the Moon from the Lunar Orbiter Laser Altimeter (LOLA)[1] provide an excellent base-map for analyzing the large crater population (D.20 km)of the lunar surface [2, 3]. We have recently used this data to calculate crater size-frequency distributions (CSFD) for 30 lunar impact basins, which have implications for their stratigraphy and sequence. These data provide an avenue for assessing the timing of the transitions between distinct crater populations characteristic of ancient and young lunar terrains, which has been linked to the late heavy bombardment (LHB). We also use LOLA data to re-examine relative stratigraphic relationships between key lunar basins.

  8. The transition from complex craters to multi-ring basins on the Moon: Quantitative geometric properties from Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Lunar Orbiter Laser Altimeter (LOLA) data

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Baker, David M. H.; Head, James W.; Neumann, Gregory A.; Smith, David E.; Zuber, Maria T.

    2012-03-01

    The morphologic transition from complex impact craters, to peak-ring basins, and to multi-ring basins has been well-documented for decades. Less clear has been the morphometric characteristics of these landforms due to their large size and the lack of global high-resolution topography data. We use data from the Lunar Orbiter Laser Altimeter (LOLA) instrument onboard the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) spacecraft to derive the morphometric characteristics of impact basins on the Moon, assess the trends, and interpret the processes involved in the observed morphologic transitions. We first developed a new technique for measuring and calculating the geometric/morphometric properties of impact basins on the Moon. This new method meets a number of criteria that are important for consideration in any topographic analysis of crater landforms (e.g., multiple data points, complete range of azimuths, systematic, reproducible analysis techniques, avoiding effects of post-event processes, robustness with respect to the statistical techniques). The resulting data more completely capture the azimuthal variation in topography that is characteristic of large impact structures. These new calculations extend the well-defined geometric trends for simple and complex craters out to basin-sized structures. Several new geometric trends for peak-ring basins are observed. Basin depth: A factor of two reduction in the depth to diameter (d/Dr) ratio in the transition from complex craters to peak-ring basins may be characterized by a steeper trend than known previously. The d/Dr ratio for peak-ring basins decreases with rim-crest diameter, which may be due to a non-proportional change in excavation cavity growth or scaling, as may occur in the simple to complex transition, or increased magnitude of floor uplift associated with peak-ring formation. Wall height, width, and slope: Wall height and width increase with increasing rim-crest diameter, while wall slope decreases; decreasing ratios

  9. The Mercury Laser Altimeter Instrument for the MESSENGER Mission

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Cavanaugh, John F.; Smith, James C.; Sun, Xiaoli; Bartels, Arlin E.; Ramos-Izquierdo, Luis; Krebs, Danny J.; Novo-Gradac, Anne marie; McGarry, Jan F.; Trunzo, Raymond; Britt, Jamie L.

    2006-01-01

    The Mercury Laser Altimeter (MLA) is one of the payload science instruments on the MErcury Surface, Space ENvironment, GEochemistry, and Ranging (MESSENGER) mission, which launched on 3 August 2004. The altimeter will measure the round trip time-of-flight of transmitted laser pulses reflected from the surface of the planet that, in combination with the spacecraft orbit position and pointing data, gives a high-precision measurement of surface topography referenced to Mercury's center of mass. The altimeter measurements will be used to determine the planet's forced librations by tracking the motion of large-scale topographic features as a function of time. MLA's laser pulse energy monitor and the echo pulse energy estimate will provide an active measurement of the surface reflectivity at 1064 nm. This paper describes the instrument design, prelaunch testing, calibration, and results of post-launch testing.

  10. A Laser Altimeter for a Planetary Flyby Mission

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Smith, D. E.; Zuber, M. T.; Sun, X.; Cavanaugh, J.; Neumann, G. A.; Mazarico, E.; Genova, A.

    2014-12-01

    Several planetary missions are contemplated as flybys of planets, asteroids, and natural satellites. In many cases the option to orbit the body is impractical and observations during one or many flybys represent the only reasonable option. A laser altimeter provides measurements of topography and shape, surface roughness, and normal reflectivity at the laser wavelength and has been shown to be very effective at Mars, Mercury and the Moon when in orbit about the body and also when in proximity of an asteroid. But flyby missions are less able to provide the coverage and uniformity of the data being acquired by the instruments on the s/c because of the variation in range of the spacecraft from the body during a flyby. To address this problem, we have modified the design of our single beam Mercury Laser Altimeter (MLA), currently collecting observations on the MESSENGER mission, to provide an operating range of several thousand kilometers by increasing the output from the laser, providing a variable pulse-rate while maintaining constant electrical power, that can provide quasi-contiguous altimeter pixels during the flyby, and by storing the complete output from the detector. This approach will provide accurate topographic and shape data and enable improved orbit determination of the spacecraft by the use of orbital crossovers with minimal interpolation errors between measurements. The mass, power and data rate of the instrument is compatible with typical constraints in planetary missions.

  11. Mid-Latitude versus Polar-Latitude Transitional Impact Craters: Geometric Properties from Mars Orbiter Laser Altimeter (MOLA) Observations and Viking Images

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Matias, A.; Garvin, J. B.; Sakimoto, S. E. H.

    1998-01-01

    One intriguing aspect of martian impact crater morphology is the change of crater cavity and ejecta characteristics from the mid-latitudes to the polar regions. This is thought to reflect differences in target properties such as an increasing presence of ice in the polar regions. Previous image-based efforts concerning martian crater morphology has documented some aspects of this, but has been hampered by the lack of adequate topography data. Recent Mars Orbiter Laser Altimeter (MOLA) topographic profiles provide a quantitative perspective for interpreting the detailed morphologies of martian crater cavities and ejecta morphology. This study is a preliminary effort to quantify the latitude-dependent differences in morphology with the goal of identifying target-dependent and crater modification effects from the combined of images and MOLA topography. We combine the available MOLA profiles and the corresponding Viking Mars Digital Image Mosaics (MDIMS), and high resolution Viking Orbiter images to focus on two transitional craters; one on the mid-latitudes, and one in the North Polar region. One MOLA pass (MGS Orbit 34) traverses the center of a 15.9 km diameter fresh complex crater located at 12.8degN 83.8degE on the Hesperian ridge plains unit (Hvr). Viking images, as well as MOLA data, show that this crater has well developed wall terraces and a central peak with 429 m of relative relief. Three MOLA passes have been acquired for a second impact crater, which is located at 69.5degN 41degE on the Vastitas Borealis Formation. This fresh rampart crater lacks terraces and central peak structures and it has a depth af 579 m. Correlation between images and MOLA topographic profiles allows us to construct basic facies maps of the craters. Eight main units were identified, four of which are common on both craters.

  12. Design and Performance Measurement of the Mercury Laser Altimeter

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Sun, Xiao-Li; Cavanaugh, John F.; Smith, James C.; Bartels, Arlin E.

    2004-01-01

    We report the design and test results of the Mercury Laser Altimeter on MESSENGER mission to be launched in May 2004. The altimeter will provide planet surface topography measurements via laser pulse time of flight.

  13. The Mars Observer laser altimeter investigation

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Zuber, M. T.; Smith, D. E.; Solomon, S. C.; Muhleman, D. O.; Head, J. W.; Garvin, J. B.; Abshire, J. B.; Bufton, J. L.

    1992-01-01

    The primary objective of the Mars Observer laser altimeter (MOLA) investigation is to determine globally the topography of Mars at a level suitable for addressing problems in geology and geophysics. Secondary objectives are to characterize the 1064-nm wavelength surface reflectivity of Mars to contribute to analyses of global surface mineralogy and seasonal albedo changes, to assist in addressing problems in atmospheric circulation, and to provide geodetic control and topographic context for the assessment of possible future Mars landing sites. The principal components of MOLA are a diode-pumped, neodymium-doped yttrium aluminum garnet laser transmitter that emits 1064-nm wavelength laser pulses, a 0.5-m-diameter telescope, a silicon avalanche photodiode detector, and a time interval unit with 10-ns resolution. MOLA will provide measurements of the topography of Mars within approximately 160-m footprints and a center-to-center along-track foot print spacing of 300 m along the Mars Observer subspacecraft ground track. The elevation measurements will be quantized with 1.5 m vertical resolution before correction for orbit- and pointing induced errors. MOLA profiles will be assembled into a global 0.2 deg x 0.2 deg grid that will be referenced to Mars' center of mass with an absolute accuracy of approximately 30 m. Other data products will include a global grid of topographic gradients, corrected individual profiles, and a global 0.2 deg x 0.2 deg grid of 1064-nm surface reflectivity.

  14. Thickness of Proximal Ejecta from the Orientale Basin from Lunar Orbiter Laser Altimeter (LOLA) Data: Implications for Multi-Ring Basin Formation

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Fassett, Caleb I.a; Head, James W.; Smith, David E.; Zuber, Maria T.; Neumann, Gregory A.

    2011-01-01

    Quantifying the ejecta distribution around large lunar basins is important to understanding the origin of basin rings, the volume of the transient cavity, the depth of sampling, and the nature of the basin formation processes. We have used newly obtained altimetry data of the Moon from the Lunar Orbiter Laser Altimeter (LOLA) instrument to estimate the thickness of ejecta in the region surrounding the Orientale impact basin, the youngest and best preserved large basin on the Moon. Our measurements yield ejecta thicknesses of approx.2900 m near the Cordillera Mountains, the topographic rim of Orientale, decaying to approx.1 km in thickness at a range of 215 km. These measurements imply a volume of ejecta in the region from the Cordillera ring to a radial range of one basin diameter of approx.2.9 x 10(exp 6)cu km and permit the derivation of an ejecta-thickness decay model, which can be compared with estimates for the volume of excavation and the size of the transient cavity. These data are consistent with the Outer Rook Mountains as the approximate location of the transient cavity s rim crest and suggest a volume of approx.4.8 x 10(exp 6)cu km for the total amount of basin ejecta exterior to this location.

  15. Laser Transmitter Design for the Geoscience Laser Altimeter System

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Afzal, R. S.; Yu, A. W.; Mamakos, W.; Lukemire, A.; Dallas, J. L.; Schroeder, B.; Green, J. W.

    1998-01-01

    NASA is embarking on a new era of laser remote sensing instruments from space. This paper focuses specifically on the laser technology involved in one of the present NASA missions. The Geoscience Laser Altimeter System (GLAS) scheduled to launch in 2001 is a laser altimeter and lidar for the Earth Observing System's (EOS) ICESat mission. The laser transmitter for this space-based remote sensing instrument is discussed in the context of the mission requirements.

  16. Space Borne Swath Mapping Laser Altimeters - Comparison of Measurement Approaches

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Sun, X.; Abshire, J. B.; Harding, D. J.

    2007-12-01

    Laser altimetry is an important technique for studying the surface topography of the planets and the Earth from orbit. Presently orbital laser altimeters profile surface height along a single ground track, such as the Geoscience Laser Altimeter System (GLAS) on Ice, Cloud, and land Elevation Satellite (ICESat). NASA is developing new technologies for an orbiting swath mapping laser altimeter with faster pulse rate and smaller footprint size to provide an instantaneous 3-dimentional measurement of the of icesheets, land topography and vegetation structure. The goal is to provide a greater than 200 m wide swath with 5 to 10 m diameter laser footprint from a 400 km altitude orbit. To achieve these goals, we have to use more efficient laser transmitters and more sensitive detectors to allow simultaneous multi-channel measurement with a reasonable instrument size and electrical power requirement. The measurement efficiency in terms of electrical energy needed per laser ranging measurement needs to be improved by more than an order of magnitude. Several different approaches were considered, including the use of fiber lasers, shorter laser pulse widths, lower noise analog detectors and photon counting detectors. The receiver sensitivity was further improved by averaging the results from a number of laser pulse measurements. Different laser pulse modulation formats, such as the pseudo random noise code modulation used in the Global Position System (GPS), were investigated to give more flexibility in laser selection and to further improve the ranging performance. We have analyzed and compared measurement performance for several different approaches using the receiver models that was validated with GLAS in orbit measurement data. We compared measurement performance with the traditional high-power low-pulse-rate laser transmitters to those with low-energy high-pulse-rate laser transmitters. For this work we considered laser characteristics representative of Microchip lasers

  17. Qualification of Laser Diode Arrays for Mercury Laser Altimeter Mission

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Stephen, Mark; Vasilyev, Aleksey; Schafer, John; Allan, Graham R.

    2004-01-01

    NASA's requirements for high reliability, high performance satellite laser instruments have driven the investigation of many critical components; specifically, 808 nm laser diode array (LDA) pump devices. The MESSENGER mission is flying the Mercury Laser Altimeter (MLA) which is a diode-pumped Nd:YAG laser instrument designed to map the topography of Mercury. The environment imposed on the instrument by the orbital dynamics places special requirements on the laser diode arrays. In order to limit the radiative heating of the satellite from the surface of Mercury, the satellite is designed to have a highly elliptical orbit. The satellite will heat near perigee and cool near apogee. The laser power is cycled during these orbits so that the laser is on for only 30 minutes (perigee) in a 12 hour orbit. The laser heats 10 C while powered up and cools while powered down. In order to simulate these operational conditions, we designed a test to measure the LDA performance while being temperature and power cycled. Though the mission requirements are specific to NASA and performance requirements are derived from unique operating conditions, the results are general and widely applicable. We present results on the performance of twelve LDAs operating for several hundred million pulses. The arrays are 100 watt, quasi-CW, conductively-cooled, 808 nm devices. Prior to testing, we fully characterize each device to establish a baseline for individual array performance and status. Details of this characterization can be found in reference. Arrays are divided into four groups and subjected to the temperature and power cycling matrix are shown.

  18. Sidelooking laser altimeter for a flight simulator

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Webster, L. D. (Inventor)

    1983-01-01

    An improved laser altimeter for a flight simulator which allows measurement of the height of the simulator probe above the terrain directly below the probe tip is described. A laser beam is directed from the probe at an angle theta to the horizontal to produce a beam spot on the terrain. The angle theta that the laser beam makes with the horizontal is varied so as to bring the beam spot into coincidence with a plumb line coaxial with the longitudinal axis of the probe. A television altimeter camera observes the beam spot and has a raster line aligned with the plumb line. Spot detector circuit coupled to the output of the TV camera monitors the position of the beam spot relative to the plumb line.

  19. The Transition from Complex Crater to Peak-Ring Basin on the Moon: New Observations from the Lunar Orbiter Laser Altimeter (LOLA) Instrument

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Baker, David M. H.; Head, James W.; Fassett, Caleb I.; Kadish, Seth J.; Smith, Dave E.; Zuber, Maria T.; Neumann, Gregory A.

    2012-01-01

    Impact craters on planetary bodies transition with increasing size from simple, to complex, to peak-ring basins and finally to multi-ring basins. Important to understanding the relationship between complex craters with central peaks and multi-ring basins is the analysis of protobasins (exhibiting a rim crest and interior ring plus a central peak) and peak-ring basins (exhibiting a rim crest and an interior ring). New data have permitted improved portrayal and classification of these transitional features on the Moon. We used new 128 pixel/degree gridded topographic data from the Lunar Orbiter Laser Altimeter (LOLA) instrument onboard the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter, combined with image mosaics, to conduct a survey of craters >50 km in diameter on the Moon and to update the existing catalogs of lunar peak-ring basins and protobasins. Our updated catalog includes 17 peak-ring basins (rim-crest diameters range from 207 km to 582 km, geometric mean = 343 km) and 3 protobasins (137-170 km, geometric mean = 157 km). Several basins inferred to be multi-ring basins in prior studies (Apollo, Moscoviense, Grimaldi, Freundlich-Sharonov, Coulomb-Sarton, and Korolev) are now classified as peak-ring basins due to their similarities with lunar peak-ring basin morphologies and absence of definitive topographic ring structures greater than two in number. We also include in our catalog 23 craters exhibiting small ring-like clusters of peaks (50-205 km, geometric mean = 81 km); one (Humboldt) exhibits a rim-crest diameter and an interior morphology that may be uniquely transitional to the process of forming peak rings. Comparisons of the predictions of models for the formation of peak-ring basins with the characteristics of the new basin catalog for the Moon suggest that formation and modification of an interior melt cavity and nonlinear scaling of impact melt volume with crater diameter provide important controls on the development of peak rings. In particular, a power-law model of

  20. Laser pointing determination for the geoscience laser altimeter system

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Miller, Pamela S.; Sirota, J. Marcos

    1998-01-01

    The Geoscience Laser Altimeter System (GLAS) is a space-based lidar being developed to monitor changes in the mass balance of the Earth's polar ice sheets (Thomas et al. 1985). GLAS is part of NASA's Earth Observing System (Schutz 1995), and is being designed to launch into a 600 km circular polar orbit in the year 2001, for continuous operation over 3 to 5 years. The orbit's 94 degree inclination has been selected to allow good coverage and profile patterns over the ice sheets of Greenland and Antarctica. The GLAS mission uses a small dedicated spacecraft provided by Ball Aerospace, which is required to have a very stable nadir and zenith pointing platform which points to within approximately 100 urad (20 arcseconds) of Nadir. Accurate knowledge of the laser beam's pointing angle (in the far field) is critical since pointing the laser beam away from nadir biases the altimetry measurements (Gardner 1992, Bufton et al. 1991). This error is a function of the distance of the laser centroid off nadir multiplied by the orbit altitude and the tangent of the slope angle of the terrain. Most of the ice sheet surface slopes are less than 1? resulting in pointing knowledge bias of only 7.6 cm with 7.3 urad accuracy, and overall single shot height accuracy of approximately 15 cm. However, over a 3 deg surface slope pointing knowledge to approximately 7.3 urad is the largest error source (23 cm) in achieving 26 cm height accuracy. The GLAS design incorporates a stellar reference system (SRS) to relate the laser beam pointing angle to the star field to an accuracy of 7.3 urad. The stellar reference system combines an attitude determination system (ADS) operating from 4 to 10 Hz coupled to a 40 Hz laser reference system (LRS) to perform this task.

  1. South Pole-Aitken Basin: Evidence for Post-Basin Resurfacing from Lunar Orbiter Laser Altimeter (LOLA) Data

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Head, J. W.; Fassett, C.; Kadish, S.; Smith, D. E.; Zuber, M. T.; Neumann, G. A.; Mazarico, E.

    2010-12-01

    The lunar farside South Pole-Aitken Basin is the largest and oldest documented basin on the Moon and is thus of interest from the point of view of the scale of production of impact melt at large basin-event sizes and its ring structure and potential depth of sampling at such a large diameter. We used new LOLA data from the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter 1) to characterize the basin interior topography, 2) to assess the nature of the nearby and relatively pristine Orientale basin and compare it to the SPA interior, and 3) to compile a new global crater database of all lunar craters ≥20 km in diameter and to assess the population of impact craters superposed on the SPA interior and exterior. We find that impact crater size-frequency distribution plots show that the exterior of the SPA basin is similar to the most heavily cratered regions of the Moon, but that the interior of the basin has a deficiency of craters in the 20-64 km diameter crater range. One interpretation of these data is that some resurfacing process (or processes) has modified the superposed crater population. Among the candidates are 1) impact crater proximity weathering/degradation by adjacent (e.g., Apollo) and nearby (e.g., Orientale) impact basin ejecta, 2) volcanic resurfacing by early non-mare volcanism, cryptomaria and/or maria, and 3) viscous relaxation removing crater topography. We consider viscous relaxation of crater topography to be the least likely due to the wavelength dependence of the process (rim-crests should be preserved and thus detected in our crater counts). Careful analysis of the impact ejecta thickness radial decay suggests that it is an important resurfacing mechanism within a basin radius from the rim crest, but is unlikely to be sufficient to explain the observed deficiency. Morphometric analysis of impact craters, modeling, and simulations of volcanic flooding suggest that the deficiency may be related to the patchy distribution of cryptomaria, suspected from mineralogic

  2. Kilometer-scale slopes on Mars and their correlation with geologic units: Initial results from Mars Orbiter Laser Altimeter (MOLA) data

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kreslavsky, M. A.; Head, J. W.

    1999-09-01

    Martian surface slopes were calculated at baselines from 0.4 to 25 km using profiles obtained by the Mars Orbiter Laser Altimeter (MOLA) instrument during the aerobraking phase of the Mars Global Surveyor mission. Median slope is proposed as a characteristic measurement of the typical surface roughness at each corresponding scale. Median slope is favored over RMS slope because it is not influenced by the small number of higher slopes at the upper end of the slope-frequency distribution tail. Median slope complements interquartile scale roughness characterization in that it is more sensitive to smaller baseline slopes. A map of the median slope of the northern hemisphere is presented. Median slopes and their scale dependences are used to characterize typical kilometer-scale roughness for a set of geologic units mapped in the northern hemisphere. This analysis demonstrates that many individual units and groups of units are characterized by distinctive surface slopes and that these characteristics are sufficiently different that they hold promise for use in the definition and characterization of units. Characterization of the slope properties of geologic units provides information useful in the interpretation of their origin and evolution. For example, the generally smooth topography of the diverse Vastitas Borealis Formation subunits is dominated by about 3 km, 0.3° steep features almost indistinguishable in Viking images. The roughness characteristics of this unit differ from those of other geologic units on Mars and suggest some distinctive process(es) of formation and/or modification of kilometer-scale topography common for all subunits. The similarity of roughness characteristics of the several highland plateau units suggests that kilometer-scale topography was largely inherited from the period of heavy bombardment. The northern polar cap and layered terrains are largely very smooth at small scale. The long, steep-sloped tails of the slope

  3. Geoscience laser altimeter system - stellar reference system

    SciTech Connect

    Millar, Pamela S.; Sirota, J. Marcos

    1998-01-15

    GLAS is an EOS space-based laser altimeter being developed to profile the height of the Earth's ice sheets with {approx}15 cm single shot accuracy from space under NASA's Mission to Planet Earth (MTPE). The primary science goal of GLAS is to determine if the ice sheets are increasing or diminishing for climate change modeling. This is achieved by measuring the ice sheet heights over Greenland and Antarctica to 1.5 cm/yr over 100 kmx100 km areas by crossover analysis (Zwally 1994). This measurement performance requires the instrument to determine the pointing of the laser beam to {approx}5 urad (1 arcsecond), 1-sigma, with respect to the inertial reference frame. The GLAS design incorporates a stellar reference system (SRS) to relate the laser beam pointing angle to the star field with this accuracy. This is the first time a spaceborne laser altimeter is measuring pointing to such high accuracy. The design for the stellar reference system combines an attitude determination system (ADS) with a laser reference system (LRS) to meet this requirement. The SRS approach and expected performance are described in this paper.

  4. Diode-pumped laser altimeter

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Welford, D.; Isyanova, Y.

    1993-01-01

    TEM(sub 00)-mode output energies up to 22.5 mJ with 23 percent slope efficiencies were generated at 1.064 microns in a diode-laser pumped Nd:YAG laser using a transverse-pumping geometry. 1.32-micron performance was equally impressive at 10.2 mJ output energy with 15 percent slope efficiency. The same pumping geometry was successfully carried forward to several complex Q-switched laser resonator designs with no noticeable degradation of beam quality. Output beam profiles were consistently shown to have greater than 90 percent correlation with the ideal TEM(sub 00)-order Gaussian profile. A comparison study on pulse-reflection-mode (PRM), pulse-transmission-mode (PTM), and passive Q-switching techniques was undertaken. The PRM Q-switched laser generated 8.3 mJ pulses with durations as short as 10 ns. The PTM Q-switch laser generated 5 mJ pulses with durations as short as 5 ns. The passively Q-switched laser generated 5 mJ pulses with durations as short as 2.4 ns. Frequency doubling of both 1.064 microns and 1.32 microns with conversion efficiencies of 56 percent in lithium triborate and 10 percent in rubidium titanyl arsenate, respectively, was shown. Sum-frequency generation of the 1.064 microns and 1.32 microns radiations was demonstrated in KTP to generate 1.1 mJ of 0.589 micron output with 11.5 percent conversion efficiency.

  5. Single photon laser altimeter simulator and statistical signal processing

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Vacek, Michael; Prochazka, Ivan

    2013-05-01

    Spaceborne altimeters are common instruments onboard the deep space rendezvous spacecrafts. They provide range and topographic measurements critical in spacecraft navigation. Simultaneously, the receiver part may be utilized for Earth-to-satellite link, one way time transfer, and precise optical radiometry. The main advantage of single photon counting approach is the ability of processing signals with very low signal-to-noise ratio eliminating the need of large telescopes and high power laser source. Extremely small, rugged and compact microchip lasers can be employed. The major limiting factor, on the other hand, is the acquisition time needed to gather sufficient volume of data in repetitive measurements in order to process and evaluate the data appropriately. Statistical signal processing is adopted to detect signals with average strength much lower than one photon per measurement. A comprehensive simulator design and range signal processing algorithm are presented to identify a mission specific altimeter configuration. Typical mission scenarios (celestial body surface landing and topographical mapping) are simulated and evaluated. The high interest and promising single photon altimeter applications are low-orbit (˜10 km) and low-radial velocity (several m/s) topographical mapping (asteroids, Phobos and Deimos) and landing altimetry (˜10 km) where range evaluation repetition rates of ˜100 Hz and 0.1 m precision may be achieved. Moon landing and asteroid Itokawa topographical mapping scenario simulations are discussed in more detail.

  6. Orientale Impact Basin: Topographic Characterization from Lunar Orbiter Laser Altimeter (LOLA) Data and Implications for Models of Basin Formation and Filling

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Head, James; Smith, David; Zuber, Maria; Neumann, Gregory; Fassett, Caleb; Whitten, Jennifer; Garrick-Bethell, Ian

    2010-05-01

    The 920 km diameter Orientale basin is the youngest and most well-preserved large multi-ringed impact basin on the Moon; it has not been significantly filled with mare basalts, as have other lunar impact basins, and thus the basin interior deposits and ring structures are very well-exposed and provide major insight into the formation and evolution of planetary multi-ringed impact basins. We report here on the acquisition of new altimetry data for the Orientale basin from the Lunar Orbiter Laser Altimeter (LOLA) on board the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter. Pre-basin structure had a major effect on the formation of Orientale; we have mapped dozens of impact craters underlying both the Orientale ejecta (Hevelius Formation-HF) and the unit between the basin rim (Cordillera ring-CR) and the Outer Rook ring (OR) (known as the Montes Rook Formation-MRF), ranging up in size to the 630 km diameter Mendel-Rydberg basin just to the south of Orientale; this crater-basin topography has influenced the topographic development of the basin rim (CR), sometimes causing the basin rim to lie at a topographically lower level than the inner basin rings (OR and Inner Rook-IR). In contrast to some previous interpretations, the distribution of these features supports the interpretation that the OR ring is the closest approximation to the basin excavation cavity. The total basin interior topography is highly variable and typically ranges ~6-7 km below the surrounding pre-basin surface, with significant variations in different quadrants. The inner basin depression is about 2-4 km deep below the IR plateau. These data aid in the understanding of the transition from peak-ring to multi-ringed basins and permit the quantitative assessment of post-basin-formation thermal response to impact energy input and uplifted isotherms. The Maunder Formation (MF) consists of smooth plains (on the inner basin depression walls and floor) and corrugated deposits (on the IR plateau); also observed are depressions

  7. In-Flight Performance of the Mercury Laser Altimeter Laser Transmitter

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Yu, Anthony W.; Sun, Xiaoli; Li, Steven X.; Cavanaugh, John F.; Neumann, Gregory A.

    2014-01-01

    The Mercury Laser Altimeter (MLA) is one of the payload instruments on the MErcury Surface, Space ENvironment, GEochemistry, and Ranging (MESSENGER) spacecraft, which was launched on August 3, 2004. MLA maps Mercury's shape and topographic landforms and other surface characteristics using a diode-pumped solid-state laser transmitter and a silicon avalanche photodiode receiver that measures the round-trip time of individual laser pulses. The laser transmitter has been operating nominally during planetary flyby measurements and in orbit about Mercury since March 2011. In this paper, we review the MLA laser transmitter telemetry data and evaluate the performance of solid-state lasers under extended operation in a space environment.

  8. Crossover Analysis of CHANG'E-1 Laser Altimeter Data

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hu, W.; Yue, Z.; Di, K.

    2011-08-01

    This paper presents a preliminary result of crossover analysis and adjustment of Chang'E-1(CE-1) Laser Altimeter (LAM) data of the Moon for global and regional mapping applications. During the operation of Chang'E-1 from November 28, 2007 to December 4, 2008, the laser altimeter acquired 1400 orbital profiles with about 9.12 million altimetric points. In our experiment, we derived more than 1.38 million crossovers from 1395 ground tracks covering the entire lunar surface after eliminating outliers of orbits and altimetric points. A method of least-squares crossover adjustment with a series of basis functions of time (trigonometric functions and polynomials) is developed to reconcile the LAM data by minimizing the crossover residuals globally. The normal equations are very large but sparse; therefore they are stored and solved using sparse matrix technique. In a test area (0°N~60°N, 50°W~0°W), the crossover residuals are reduced from 62.1m to 32.8m, and the quality of the DEM generated from the adjusted LAM data is improved accordingly. We will optimize the method for the global adjustment to generate a high precision consistent global DEM, which can be used as absolute control for lunar mapping with orbital images.

  9. Short arc orbit determination for altimeter calibration and validation on TOPEX/POSEIDON

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Williams, B. G.; Christensen, E. J.; Yuan, D. N.; Mccoll, K. C.; Sunseri, R. F.

    1993-01-01

    TOPEX/POSEIDON (T/P) is a joint mission of United States' National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and French Centre National d'Etudes Spatiales (CNES) design launched August 10, 1992. It carries two radar altimeters which alternately share a common antenna. There are two project designated verification sites, a NASA site off the coast at Pt. Conception, CA and a CNES site near Lampedusa Island in the Mediterranean Sea. Altimeter calibration and validation for T/P is performed over these highly instrumented sites by comparing the spacecraft's altimeter radar range to computed range based on in situ measurements which include the estimated orbit position. This paper presents selected results of orbit determination over each of these sites to support altimeter verification. A short arc orbit determination technique is used to estimate a locally accurate position determination of T/P from less than one revolution of satellite laser ranging (SLR) data. This technique is relatively insensitive to gravitational and non-gravitational force modeling errors and is demonstrated by covariance analysis and by comparison to orbits determined from longer arcs of data and other tracking data types, such as Doppler Orbitography and Radiopositioning Integrated by Satellite (DORIS) and Global Positioning System Demonstration Receiver (GPSDR) data.

  10. Cloud and Aerosol Lidar Channel Design and Performance of the Geoscience Laser Altimeter System on the ICESat Mission

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Sun, Xiaoli; Abshire, James B.; Krainak, Michael A.; Spinhirne, James D.; Palm, Steve S.; Lancaster, Redgie S.; Allan, Graham R.

    2004-01-01

    The design of the 532 and 1064nm wavelength atmosphere lidar channels of the Geoscience Laser Altimeter System on the ICESat spacecraft is described. The lidar channel performance per on orbit measurements data will be presented.

  11. Mapping Mars with a Laser Altimeter

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Smith, David E.

    2001-01-01

    In November 1996 the Mars Global Surveyor (MGS) spacecraft was launched to Mars. One of the instruments on the spacecraft was a laser altimeter, MOLA, for measuring the shape and topography of the planet. The altimeter has a diode pumped Q-switched ND:YAG laser at 1064nm, operating at 10Hz with an 8 nsec pulse width. The pulse energy is 48mJ, and the instrument has a 37cm ranging precision. The laser illuminates a spot on the surface of Mars approximately 160 meters in diameter and the instrument has accumulated over 600 million range measurements of the surface since arrival at Mars in September 1997. MOLA has operated continuously for over 2 years and has mapped the planet at a horizontal resolution of about 1 km and a radial accuracy of about a meter. MOLA has measured the shape of the planet, the heights of the volcanoes, the depths of the canyons, and the volumes of the polar icecaps. It has detected carbon dioxide clouds and measured the accumulation of seasonal CO2 on the polar icecaps. This new remote sensing tool has helped transform our understanding of Mars and its geological history, and opened a new door to planetary exploration.

  12. Lunar Shape via the Apollo Laser Altimeter.

    PubMed

    Sjogren, W L; Wollenhaupt, W R

    1973-01-19

    Data from the Apollo 15 and Apollo 16 laser altimeters reveal the first accurate elevation differences between distant features on both sides of the moon. The large far-side depression observed in the Apollo 15 data is not present in the Apollo 16 data. When the laser results are compared with elevations on maps from the Aeronautical Chart and Information Center, differences of 2 kilometers over a few hundred kilometers are detected in the Mare Nubium and Mare Tranquillitatis regions. The Apollo 16 data alone would put a 2-kilometer bulge toward the earth; however, the combined data are best fit by a sphere of radius 1737.7 kilometers. The offset of the center of gravity from the optical center is about 2 kilometers toward the earth and 1 kilometer eastward. The polar direction parameters are not well determined. PMID:17802353

  13. ICESat laser altimeter measurement time validation system

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Magruder, L. A.; Suleman, M. A.; Schutz, B. E.

    2003-11-01

    NASA launched its Ice, Cloud and Land Elevation Satellite (ICESat) in January 2003. The primary goal of this laser altimeter mission is to provide determination of volumetric changes in the ice sheets, specifically in Antarctica and Greenland. The instrument performance requirements are driven by the scientific goal of determining a change in elevation on the centimetre level over the course of a year's time. One important aspect of the altimeter data is the time of measurement, or bounce time, associated with each laser shot, as it is an important factor that assists in revealing the temporal changes in the surface (land/ice/sea) characteristics. In order to provide verification that the laser bounce time is accurately being determined, a ground-based detector system has been developed. The ground-based system methodology time-tags the arrival of the transmitted photons on the surface of the Earth with an accuracy of 0.1 ms. The timing software and hardware that will be used in the ground-based system has been developed and extensively tested. One particular test utilized an airborne laser equipped to produce a similar signal to that of ICESat. The overflight of the detectors by the aircraft was successful in that the signals were detected by the electro-optical devices and appropriately time-tagged with the timing hardware/software. There are many calibration and validation activities planned with the intention to help resolve the validity of the ICESat data, but pre-launch analysis suggests the ground-based system will provide the most accurate recovery of timing bias.

  14. The transition from complex crater to peak-ring basin on the Moon: New observations from the Lunar Orbiter Laser Altimeter (LOLA) instrument

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Baker, David M. H.; Head, James W.; Fassett, Caleb I.; Kadish, Seth J.; Smith, Dave E.; Zuber, Maria T.; Neumann, Gregory A.

    2011-08-01

    Impact craters on planetary bodies transition with increasing size from simple, to complex, to peak-ring basins and finally to multi-ring basins. Important to understanding the relationship between complex craters with central peaks and multi-ring basins is the analysis of protobasins (exhibiting a rim crest and interior ring plus a central peak) and peak-ring basins (exhibiting a rim crest and an interior ring). New data have permitted improved portrayal and classification of these transitional features on the Moon. We used new 128 pixel/degree gridded topographic data from the Lunar Orbiter Laser Altimeter (LOLA) instrument onboard the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter, combined with image mosaics, to conduct a survey of craters >50 km in diameter on the Moon and to update the existing catalogs of lunar peak-ring basins and protobasins. Our updated catalog includes 17 peak-ring basins (rim-crest diameters range from 207 km to 582 km, geometric mean = 343 km) and 3 protobasins (137-170 km, geometric mean = 157 km). Several basins inferred to be multi-ring basins in prior studies (Apollo, Moscoviense, Grimaldi, Freundlich-Sharonov, Coulomb-Sarton, and Korolev) are now classified as peak-ring basins due to their similarities with lunar peak-ring basin morphologies and absence of definitive topographic ring structures greater than two in number. We also include in our catalog 23 craters exhibiting small ring-like clusters of peaks (50-205 km, geometric mean = 81 km); one (Humboldt) exhibits a rim-crest diameter and an interior morphology that may be uniquely transitional to the process of forming peak rings. A power-law fit to ring diameters ( Dring) and rim-crest diameters ( Dr) of peak-ring basins on the Moon [ Dring = 0.14 ± 0.10( Dr) 1.21±0.13] reveals a trend that is very similar to a power-law fit to peak-ring basin diameters on Mercury [ Dring = 0.25 ± 0.14( Drim) 1.13±0.10] [Baker, D.M.H. et al. [2011]. Planet. Space Sci., in press]. Plots of ring

  15. Gaussian Decomposition of Laser Altimeter Waveforms

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Hofton, Michelle A.; Minster, J. Bernard; Blair, J. Bryan

    1999-01-01

    We develop a method to decompose a laser altimeter return waveform into its Gaussian components assuming that the position of each Gaussian within the waveform can be used to calculate the mean elevation of a specific reflecting surface within the laser footprint. We estimate the number of Gaussian components from the number of inflection points of a smoothed copy of the laser waveform, and obtain initial estimates of the Gaussian half-widths and positions from the positions of its consecutive inflection points. Initial amplitude estimates are obtained using a non-negative least-squares method. To reduce the likelihood of fitting the background noise within the waveform and to minimize the number of Gaussians needed in the approximation, we rank the "importance" of each Gaussian in the decomposition using its initial half-width and amplitude estimates. The initial parameter estimates of all Gaussians ranked "important" are optimized using the Levenburg-Marquardt method. If the sum of the Gaussians does not approximate the return waveform to a prescribed accuracy, then additional Gaussians are included in the optimization procedure. The Gaussian decomposition method is demonstrated on data collected by the airborne Laser Vegetation Imaging Sensor (LVIS) in October 1997 over the Sequoia National Forest, California.

  16. The Geoscience Laser Altimeter System (GLAS) for the ICESAT Mission

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Abshire, James B.; Sun, Xia-Li; Ketchum, Eleanor A.; Afzal, Robert S.; Millar, Pamela S.; Smith, David E. (Technical Monitor)

    2000-01-01

    The Laser In space Technology Experiment, Shuttle Laser Altimeter and the Mars Observer Laser Altimeter have demonstrated accurate measurements of atmospheric backscatter and Surface heights from space. The recent MOLA measurements of the Mars surface have 40 cm vertical resolution and have reduced the global uncertainty in Mars topography from a few km to about 5 m. The Geoscience Laser Altimeter System (GLAS) is a next generation lidar for Earth orbit being developed as part of NASA's Icesat Mission. The GLAS design combines a 10 cm precision surface lidar with a sensitive dual wavelength cloud and aerosol lidar. GLAS will precisely measure the heights of the Earth's polar ice sheets, establish a grid of accurate height profiles of the Earth's land topography, and profile the vertical backscatter of clouds and aerosols on a global scale. GLAS is being developed to fly on a small dedicated spacecraft in a polar orbit with a 590 630 km altitude at inclination of 94 degrees. GLAS is scheduled to launch in the summer 2001 and to operate continuously for a minimum of 3 years with a goal of 5 years. The primary mission for GLAS is to measure the seasonal and annual changes in the heights of the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets. GLAS will continuously measure the vertical distance from orbit to the Earth's surface with 1064 nm pulses from a ND:YAG laser at a 40 Hz rate. Each 5 nsec wide laser pulse is used to produce a single range measurement, and the laser spots have 66 m diameter and about 170 m center-center spacings. When over land GLAS will profile the heights of the topography and vegetation. The GLAS receiver uses a 1 m diameter telescope and a Si APD detector. The detector signal is sampled by an all digital receiver which records each surface echo waveform with I nsec resolution and a stored echo record lengths of either 200, 400, or 600 samples. Analysis of the echo waveforms within the instrument permits discrimination between cloud and surface echoes

  17. GPS-Based Precision Orbit Determination for a New Era of Altimeter Satellites: Jason-1 and ICESat

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Luthcke, Scott B.; Rowlands, David D.; Lemoine, Frank G.; Zelensky, Nikita P.; Williams, Teresa A.

    2003-01-01

    Accurate positioning of the satellite center of mass is necessary in meeting an altimeter mission's science goals. The fundamental science observation is an altimetric derived topographic height. Errors in positioning the satellite's center of mass directly impact this fundamental observation. Therefore, orbit error is a critical Component in the error budget of altimeter satellites. With the launch of the Jason-1 radar altimeter (Dec. 2001) and the ICESat laser altimeter (Jan. 2003) a new era of satellite altimetry has begun. Both missions pose several challenges for precision orbit determination (POD). The Jason-1 radial orbit accuracy goal is 1 cm, while ICESat (600 km) at a much lower altitude than Jason-1 (1300 km), has a radial orbit accuracy requirement of less than 5 cm. Fortunately, Jason-1 and ICESat POD can rely on near continuous tracking data from the dual frequency codeless BlackJack GPS receiver and Satellite Laser Ranging. Analysis of current GPS-based solution performance indicates the l-cm radial orbit accuracy goal is being met for Jason-1, while radial orbit accuracy for ICESat is well below the 54x1 mission requirement. A brief overview of the GPS precision orbit determination methodology and results for both Jason-1 and ICESat are presented.

  18. Lunar Geodetic Opportunities with the Laser Altimeter on LRO

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Zuber, Maria T.; Smith, David E.

    2006-01-01

    The Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) is to be launched at the end of 2008 and will carry 7 instruments, one of which is a laser altimeter (LOLA), and obtain observations of the Moon for a period of 1 year. The orbit will be near polar and approximately circular at 50 km altitude with monthly orbital adjustments to maintain the mean altitude. The LOLA instrument has a -10 cm single-shot accuracy, with 5 beams, and operates at 28 Hz. It provides 5 adjacent profiles, each approximately 12 to 15 meters apart with a swath of approximately 65 meters. The 5 beams are arranged in a cross-shaped pattern that provides simultaneous along and cross track altimetry and providing slopes in 2 orthogonal directions every 50 meters along track. In combination with the LRO tracking data LOLA will be used to improve the model of the lunar gravity by using the altimeter on both the lunar near-side and far-side as an additional tracking system to enable precise positioning of the LRO spacecraft at about the 50 meter level rms. The instrument is expected to provide full polar coverage at very high northern and southern latitudes with spatial resolutions of 25 meters or better. In addition to the range to the surface LOLA measures the surface roughness from the spreading of the laser pulse and also the reflectance of the surface at 1064 nm. These measurements in conjunction with the altimetry will assist in the selection of future landing sites for future robotic and human missions to the Moon.

  19. The Mars Orbiter Altimeter (MOLA) Investigation of the Shape and Topography of Mars

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Smith, David E.; Zuber, Maria T.

    2001-01-01

    The Mars Orbiter Laser Altimeter (MOLA) is an instrument on the Mars Global Surveyor (MGS) spacecraft that has been orbiting Mars since September 1997. After some preliminary observations in Sept/Oct, 1997 and in the spring and summer of 1998, the MGS spacecraft entered its mapping orbit of 400 km above the surface of Mars in February 1999. MGS began a 2 year program of systematically mapping the planet with a camera (MOC), thermal emission spectrometer (TES), magnetometer (MAG), laser altimeter (MOLA), and a radio science investigation for gravity and radio occultations. MOLA has a 48mJ, 1064 nrn ND:YAG, diode pumped laser with a 8 nanosecond pulse width, a pulse rate of 10 Hz, and a range precision of less than 40 cm. MOLA has been operating almost continuously for over two years and obtained over 600 million measurements of the radius of Mars. Using very precise orbits for the MGS spacecraft derived from the Doppler and range tracking of MGS by the Deep Space Network a topographical map of Mars has been developed with an average radial accuracy of a meter and a horizontal accuracy of 100 meters. This topographical map has revealed a new Mars, a planet with some of the flattest areas in the solar system and one of the largest impact basins. MOLA has revealed clear evidence of the effect of past fluid action on the surface and found icecaps that contain as much water ice today as the icecap of Greenland.

  20. Photogrammetry and altimetry. Part A: Apollo 16 laser altimeter

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Wollenhaupt, W. R.; Sjogren, W. L.

    1972-01-01

    The laser altimeter measures precise altitudes of the command and service module above the lunar surface and can function either with the metric (mapping) camera or independently. In the camera mode, the laser altimeter ranges at each exposure time, which varies between 20 and 28 sec (i.e., 30 to 43 km on the lunar surface). In the independent mode, the laser altimeter ranges every 20 sec. These altitude data and the spacecraft attitudes that are derived from simultaneous stellar photography are used to constrain the photogrammetric reduction of the lunar surface photographs when cartographic products are generated. In addition, the altimeter measurements alone provide broad-scale topographic relief around the entire circumference of the moon. These data are useful in investigating the selenodetic figure of the moon and may provide information regarding gravitational anomalies on the lunar far side.

  1. Lunar Observer Laser Altimeter observations for lunar base site selection

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Garvin, James B.; Bufton, Jack L.

    1992-01-01

    One of the critical datasets for optimal selection of future lunar landing sites is local- to regional-scale topography. Lunar base site selection will require such data for both engineering and scientific operations purposes. The Lunar Geoscience Orbiter or Lunar Observer is the ideal precursory science mission from which to obtain this required information. We suggest that a simple laser altimeter instrument could be employed to measure local-scale slopes, heights, and depths of lunar surface features important to lunar base planning and design. For this reason, we have designed and are currently constructing a breadboard of a Lunar Observer Laser Altimeter (LOLA) instrument capable of acquiring contiguous-footprint topographic profiles with both 30-m and 300-m along-track resolution. This instrument meets all the severe weight, power, size, and data rate limitations imposed by Observer-class spacecraft. In addition, LOLA would be capable of measuring the within-footprint vertical roughness of the lunar surface, and the 1.06-micron relative surface reflectivity at normal incidence. We have used airborne laser altimeter data for a few representative lunar analog landforms to simulate and analyze LOLA performance in a 100-km lunar orbit. We demonstrate that this system in its highest resolution mode (30-m diameter footprints) would quantify the topography of all but the very smallest lunar landforms. At its global mapping resolution (300-m diameter footprints), LOLA would establish the topographic context for lunar landing site selection by providing the basis for constructing a 1-2 km spatial resolution global, geodetic topographic grid that would contain a high density of observations (e.g., approximately 1000 observations per each 1 deg by 1 deg cell at the lunar equator). The high spatial and vertical resolution measurements made with a LOLA-class instrument on a precursory Lunar Observer would be highly synergistic with high-resolution imaging datasets, and

  2. Space-qualified laser system for the BepiColombo Laser Altimeter.

    PubMed

    Kallenbach, Reinald; Murphy, Eamonn; Gramkow, Bodo; Rech, Markus; Weidlich, Kai; Leikert, Thomas; Henkelmann, Reiner; Trefzger, Boris; Metz, Bodo; Michaelis, Harald; Lingenauber, Kay; DelTogno, Simone; Behnke, Thomas; Thomas, Nicolas; Piazza, Daniele; Seiferlin, Karsten

    2013-12-20

    The space-qualified design of a miniaturized laser for pulsed operation at a wavelength of 1064 nm and at repetition rates up to 10 Hz is presented. This laser consists of a pair of diode-laser pumped, actively q-switched Nd:YAG rod oscillators hermetically sealed and encapsulated in an environment of dry synthetic air. The system delivers at least 300 million laser pulses with 50 mJ energy and 5 ns pulse width (FWHM). It will be launched in 2017 aboard European Space Agency's Mercury Planetary Orbiter as part of the BepiColombo Laser Altimeter, which, after a 6-years cruise, will start recording topographic data from orbital altitudes between 400 and 1500 km above Mercury's surface. PMID:24513938

  3. Geoscience Laser Altimeter System: Characteristics and Performance of the Altimeter Receiver

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Sun, Xiao-Li; Yi, Dong-Hui; Abshire, James B.

    2003-01-01

    The Geoscience Laser Altimeter System (GLAS) on board ICESat spacecraft measures the surface height (altimetry) via the time of flight of its 1064 nm laser pulse. The GLAS laser transmitter produces 6 ns wide pulses with 70 mJ energy at 1064 nm at a 40 Hz rate. The altimeter receiver consists of a telescope, aft optics, a silicon avalanche photodiode, and electronic amplifiers. The transmitted and echo pulse waveforms are digitized at 1 GHz rate. The laser pulse time of flight is determined on the ground from the two digitized pulse waveforms and their positions in the full waveform record (about 5.4 ms ong) by computing the pulse centroids or by curve fitting. The GLAS receiver algorithms in on board software selects the two waveform segments containing the transmitted and the echo pulses and sends them to ground. The probability of echo pulse detection and the accuracy of time of flight measurement depend on the received signal level, the background light within the receiver field of view, the inherent detector and amplifier noise, the quantization of the digitizer, and some times by cloud obscurations. A receiver model has been developed to calculate the probability of detection and accuracy of the altimeter measurements with these noise sources. From prelaunch testing, the minimum detectable echo pulse energy for 90% detection probability was about 0.1 fj/pulse onto the detector. Such a receiver sensitivity allows GLAS to measure the surface height through clouds with optical density less than 2. The echo pulse energy required to achieve 10 cm ranging accuracy was found to be about 3 times higher than the minimum detectable signal level. The smallest single shot range measurement error, which was determined by ranging to a fixed target with strong echo pulses and no background light, was 2 to 3cm. The maximum linear response echo pulse energy was 10 fJ/pulse for the strongest echo signals, assuming a Lambertian scattering snow surface, clear sky atmosphere

  4. Summary of Skylab S-193 altimeter altitude results. [orbit calculation and studies of the ocean bottom

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Mcgoogan, J. T.; Leitao, C. D.; Wells, W. T.

    1975-01-01

    The SKYLAB S-193 altimeter altitude results are presented in a concise format for further use and analysis by the scientific community. The altimeter mission and instrumentation is described along with the altimeter processing techniques and values of parameters used for processing. The determination of reference orbits is discussed, and the tracking systems utilized are tabulated. Techniques for determining satellite pointing are presented and a tabulation of pointing for each data mission included. The geographical location, the ocean bottom topography, the altimeter-determined ocean surface topography, and the altimeter automatic gain control history is presented. Some typical applications of this data are suggested.

  5. Co-registration of Laser Altimeter Tracks with Digital Terrain Models and Applications in Planetary Science

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Glaeser, P.; Haase, I.; Oberst, J.; Neumann, G. A.

    2013-01-01

    We have derived algorithms and techniques to precisely co-register laser altimeter profiles with gridded Digital Terrain Models (DTMs), typically derived from stereo images. The algorithm consists of an initial grid search followed by a least-squares matching and yields the translation parameters at sub-pixel level needed to align the DTM and the laser profiles in 3D space. This software tool was primarily developed and tested for co-registration of laser profiles from the Lunar Orbiter Laser Altimeter (LOLA) with DTMs derived from the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) Narrow Angle Camera (NAC) stereo images. Data sets can be co-registered with positional accuracy between 0.13 m and several meters depending on the pixel resolution and amount of laser shots, where rough surfaces typically result in more accurate co-registrations. Residual heights of the data sets are as small as 0.18 m. The software can be used to identify instrument misalignment, orbit errors, pointing jitter, or problems associated with reference frames being used. Also, assessments of DTM effective resolutions can be obtained. From the correct position between the two data sets, comparisons of surface morphology and roughness can be made at laser footprint- or DTM pixel-level. The precise co-registration allows us to carry out joint analysis of the data sets and ultimately to derive merged high-quality data products. Examples of matching other planetary data sets, like LOLA with LRO Wide Angle Camera (WAC) DTMs or Mars Orbiter Laser Altimeter (MOLA) with stereo models from the High Resolution Stereo Camera (HRSC) as well as Mercury Laser Altimeter (MLA) with Mercury Dual Imaging System (MDIS) are shown to demonstrate the broad science applications of the software tool.

  6. Co-registration of laser altimeter tracks with digital terrain models and applications in planetary science

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Gläser, P.; Haase, I.; Oberst, J.; Neumann, G. A.

    2013-12-01

    We have derived algorithms and techniques to precisely co-register laser altimeter profiles with gridded Digital Terrain Models (DTMs), typically derived from stereo images. The algorithm consists of an initial grid search followed by a least-squares matching and yields the translation parameters at sub-pixel level needed to align the DTM and the laser profiles in 3D space. This software tool was primarily developed and tested for co-registration of laser profiles from the Lunar Orbiter Laser Altimeter (LOLA) with DTMs derived from the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) Narrow Angle Camera (NAC) stereo images. Data sets can be co-registered with positional accuracy between 0.13 m and several meters depending on the pixel resolution and amount of laser shots, where rough surfaces typically result in more accurate co-registrations. Residual heights of the data sets are as small as 0.18 m. The software can be used to identify instrument misalignment, orbit errors, pointing jitter, or problems associated with reference frames being used. Also, assessments of DTM effective resolutions can be obtained. From the correct position between the two data sets, comparisons of surface morphology and roughness can be made at laser footprint- or DTM pixel-level. The precise co-registration allows us to carry out joint analysis of the data sets and ultimately to derive merged high-quality data products. Examples of matching other planetary data sets, like LOLA with LRO Wide Angle Camera (WAC) DTMs or Mars Orbiter Laser Altimeter (MOLA) with stereo models from the High Resolution Stereo Camera (HRSC) as well as Mercury Laser Altimeter (MLA) with Mercury Dual Imaging System (MDIS) are shown to demonstrate the broad science applications of the software tool.

  7. Shuttle Laser Altimeter (SLA): A pathfinder for space-based laser altimetry and lidar

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Bufton, Jack; Blair, Bryan; Cavanaugh, John; Garvin, James

    1995-01-01

    The Shuttle Laser Altimeter (SLA) is a Hitchhiker experiment now being integrated for first flight on STS-72 in November 1995. Four Shuttle flights of the SLA are planned at a rate of about a flight every 18 months. They are aimed at the transition of the Goddard Space Flight Center airborne laser altimeter and lidar technology to low Earth orbit as a pathfinder for operational space-based laser remote sensing devices. Future alser altimeter sensors such as the Geoscience Laser Altimeter System (GLAS), an Earth Observing System facility instrument, and the Multi-Beam Laser Altimeter (MBLA), the land and vegetation laser altimeter for the NASA TOPSAT (Topography Satellite) Mission, will utilize systems and approaches being tested with SLA. The SLA Instrument measures the distance from the Space Shuttle to the Earth's surface by timing the two-way propagation of short (approximately 10 na noseconds) laser pulses. laser pulses at 1064 nm wavelength are generated in a laser transmitter and are detected by a telescope equipped with a silicon avalanche photodiode detector. The SLA data system makes the pulse time interval measurement to a precision of about 10 nsec and also records the temporal shape of the laser echo from the Earth's surface for interpretation of surface height distribution within the 100 m diam. sensor footprint. For example, tree height can be determined by measuring the characteristic double-pulse signature that results from a separation in time of laser backscatter from tree canopies and the underlying ground. This is accomplished with a pulse waveform digitizer that samples the detector output with an adjustable resolution of 2 nanoseconds or wider intervals in a 100 sample window centered on the return pulse echo. The digitizer makes the SLA into a high resolution surface lidar sensor. It can also be used for cloud and atmospheric aerosol lidar measurements by lengthening the sampling window and degrading the waveform resolution. Detailed test

  8. Shuttle Laser Altimeter (SLA): A pathfinder for space-based laser altimetry and lidar

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bufton, Jack; Blair, Bryan; Cavanaugh, John; Garvin, James

    1995-09-01

    The Shuttle Laser Altimeter (SLA) is a Hitchhiker experiment now being integrated for first flight on STS-72 in November 1995. Four Shuttle flights of the SLA are planned at a rate of about a flight every 18 months. They are aimed at the transition of the Goddard Space Flight Center airborne laser altimeter and lidar technology to low Earth orbit as a pathfinder for operational space-based laser remote sensing devices. Future alser altimeter sensors such as the Geoscience Laser Altimeter System (GLAS), an Earth Observing System facility instrument, and the Multi-Beam Laser Altimeter (MBLA), the land and vegetation laser altimeter for the NASA TOPSAT (Topography Satellite) Mission, will utilize systems and approaches being tested with SLA. The SLA Instrument measures the distance from the Space Shuttle to the Earth's surface by timing the two-way propagation of short (approximately 10 na noseconds) laser pulses. laser pulses at 1064 nm wavelength are generated in a laser transmitter and are detected by a telescope equipped with a silicon avalanche photodiode detector. The SLA data system makes the pulse time interval measurement to a precision of about 10 nsec and also records the temporal shape of the laser echo from the Earth's surface for interpretation of surface height distribution within the 100 m diam. sensor footprint. For example, tree height can be determined by measuring the characteristic double-pulse signature that results from a separation in time of laser backscatter from tree canopies and the underlying ground. This is accomplished with a pulse waveform digitizer that samples the detector output with an adjustable resolution of 2 nanoseconds or wider intervals in a 100 sample window centered on the return pulse echo. The digitizer makes the SLA into a high resolution surface lidar sensor. It can also be used for cloud and atmospheric aerosol lidar measurements by lengthening the sampling window and degrading the waveform resolution. Detailed test

  9. Mars laser altimeter based on a single photon ranging technique

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Prochazka, Ivan; Hamal, Karel; Sopko, B.; Pershin, S.

    1993-01-01

    The Mars 94/96 Mission will carry, among others things, the balloon probe experiment. The balloon with the scientific cargo in the gondola underneath will drift in the Mars atmosphere, its altitude will range from zero, in the night, up to 5 km at noon. The accurate gondola altitude will be determined by an altimeter. As the Balloon gondola mass is strictly limited, the altimeter total mass and power consumption are critical; maximum allowed is a few hundred grams a few tens of mWatts of average power consumption. We did propose, design, and construct the laser altimeter based on the single photon ranging technique. Topics covered include the following: principle of operation, altimeter construction, and ground tests.

  10. First Laser Altimeter Measurements of Mercury from the MESSENGER Flyby

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Sun, Xiaoli; Neumann, Gregory A.; Cavanaugh, John F.; McGarry, Jan F.; Smith, David E.; Zuber, Maria T.

    2008-01-01

    The Mercury Laser Altimeter performed the first laser ranging measurements to Mercury during the Mercury Surface, Space ENvironment, GEochemistry, and Ranging (MESSENGER) flyby in January 2008. The instrument successfully ranged to 600 km at an off-nadir angle >60 and to >1600 km in the nadir direction.

  11. Optical system design and integration of the mercury laser altimeter.

    PubMed

    Ramos-Lzquierdo, Luis; Scott, V Stanley; Schmidt, Stephen; Britt, Jamie; Mamakos, William; Trunzo, Raymond; Cavanaugh, John; Miller, Roger

    2005-03-20

    The Mercury Laser Altimeter (MLA), developed for the 2004 MESSENGER mission to Mercury, is designed to measure the planet's topography by laser ranging. A description of the MLA optical system and its measured optical performance during instrument-level and spacecraft-level integration and testing are presented. PMID:15813279

  12. Optical System Design and Integration of the Mercury Laser Altimeter

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Ramos-Izquierdo, Luis; Scott, V. Stanley, III; Schmidt, Stephen; Britt, Jamie; Mamakos, William; Trunzo, Raymond; Cavanaugh, John; Miller, Roger

    2005-01-01

    The Mercury Laser Altimeter (MLA). developed for the 2004 MESSENGER mission to Mercury, is designed to measure the planet's topography via laser ranging. A description of the MLA optical system and its measured optical performance during instrument-level and spacecraft-level integration and testing are presented.

  13. ICESAT Laser Altimeter Pointing, Ranging and Timing Calibration from Integrated Residual Analysis

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Luthcke, Scott B.; Rowlands, D. D.; Carabajal, C. C.; Harding, D. H.; Bufton, J. L.; Williams, T. A.

    2003-01-01

    On January 12, 2003 the Ice, Cloud and land Elevation Satellite (ICESat) was successfully placed into orbit. The ICESat mission carries the Geoscience Laser Altimeter System (GLAS), which has a primary measurement of short-pulse laser- ranging to the Earth s surface at 1064nm wavelength at a rate of 40 pulses per second. The instrument has collected precise elevation measurements of the ice sheets, sea ice roughness and thickness, ocean and land surface elevations and surface reflectivity. The accurate geolocation of GLAS s surface returns, the spots from which the laser energy reflects on the Earth s surface, is a critical issue in the scientific application of these data. Pointing, ranging, timing and orbit errors must be compensated to accurately geolocate the laser altimeter surface returns. Towards this end, the laser range observations can be fully exploited in an integrated residual analysis to accurately calibrate these geolocation/instrument parameters. ICESat laser altimeter data have been simultaneously processed as direct altimetry from ocean sweeps along with dynamic crossovers in order to calibrate pointing, ranging and timing. The calibration methodology and current calibration results are discussed along with future efforts.

  14. Single photon laser altimeter data processing, analysis and experimental validation

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Vacek, Michael; Peca, Marek; Michalek, Vojtech; Prochazka, Ivan

    2015-10-01

    Spaceborne laser altimeters are common instruments on-board the rendezvous spacecraft. This manuscript deals with the altimeters using a single photon approach, which belongs to the family of time-of-flight range measurements. Moreover, the single photon receiver part of the altimeter may be utilized as an Earth-to-spacecraft link enabling one-way ranging, time transfer and data transfer. The single photon altimeters evaluate actual altitude through the repetitive detections of single photons of the reflected laser pulses. We propose the single photon altimeter signal processing and data mining algorithm based on the Poisson statistic filter (histogram method) and the modified Kalman filter, providing all common altimetry products (altitude, slope, background photon flux and albedo). The Kalman filter is extended for the background noise filtering, the varying slope adaptation and the non-causal extension for an abrupt slope change. Moreover, the algorithm partially removes the major drawback of a single photon altitude reading, namely that the photon detection measurement statistics must be gathered. The developed algorithm deduces the actual altitude on the basis of a single photon detection; thus, being optimal in the sense that each detected signal photon carrying altitude information is tracked and no altitude information is lost. The algorithm was tested on the simulated datasets and partially cross-probed with the experimental data collected using the developed single photon altimeter breadboard based on the microchip laser with the pulse energy on the order of microjoule and the repetition rate of several kilohertz. We demonstrated that such an altimeter configuration may be utilized for landing or hovering a small body (asteroid, comet).

  15. Remote sensing of atmospheric pressure and sea state using laser altimeters

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Gardner, C. S.

    1985-01-01

    Short-pulse multicolor laser ranging systems are currently being developed for satellite ranging applications. These systems use Q-switched pulsed lasers and streak-tube cameras to provide timing accuracies approaching a few picoseconds. Satellite laser ranging systems have been used to evaluate many important geophysical phenomena such as fault motion, polar motion and solid earth tides, by measuring the orbital perturbations of retroreflector equipped satellites. Some existing operational systems provide range resolution approaching a few millimeters. There is currently considerable interest in adapting these highly accurate systems for use as airborne and satellite based altimeters. Potential applications include the measurement of sea state, ground topography and atmospheric pressure. This paper reviews recent progress in the development of multicolor laser altimeters for use in monitoring sea state and atmospheric pressure.

  16. 3000 Mile Laser Altimeter Profile Across Northern Hemisphere of Mars

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    1997-01-01

    Topographic profile across the northern hemisphere of Mars from the Mars Orbiter Laser Altimeter (MOLA). The profile was obtained during the Mars Global Surveyor Capture Orbit Calibration Pass on September 15, 1997 and represents 20 minutes of data collection. The profile has a length of approximately 3000 miles (5000 kilometers). The large bulge is the western part of the Elysium rise, the second largest volcanic province on Mars, and shows over 3 miles (5 kilometers) of vertical relief. This area contains deep chasms that reflect tectonic, volcanic and erosional processes. In contrast is the almost 1featureless1 northern plains region of Mars, which shows only hundreds of meters of relief at scales the size of the United States. Plotted for comparison is the elevation of the Viking Lander 2 site, which is located 275 miles (445 kilometers) west of the profile. At the southernmost extent of the trace is the transition from the northern plains to the ancient southern highlands. Characterizing the fine-scale nature of topography in this chaotic region is crucial to testing theories for how the dichotomy between the geologically distinctive northern lowlands and southern uplands formed and subsequently evolved. The spatial resolution of the profile is approximately 1000 feet (330 meters) and the vertical resolution is approximately 3 feet (1 meter). When the Mars Global Surveyor mapping mission commences in March, 1998, the MOLA instrument will collect 72 times as much data every day for a period of two years.

  17. Scientific Measurements of Hayabusa-2 Laser Altimeter (LIDAR)

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Noda, H.; Mizuno, T.; Namiki, N.; Senshu, H.; Yamada, R.; Hirata, N.; Lidar-Science Team

    2015-01-01

    As a successor of Japanese Hayabusa Asteroid mission, Hayabusa-2 is scheduled to be launched in winter 2014. The Laser Altimeter called LIDAR will contribute not only to the satellite bus system but also to the science of the target asteroid.

  18. Receiver design, performance analysis, and evaluation for space-borne laser altimeters and space-to-space laser ranging systems

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Davidson, Frederic M.; Sun, Xiaoli; Field, Christopher T.

    1995-01-01

    Laser altimeters measure the time of flight of the laser pulses to determine the range of the target. The simplest altimeter receiver consists of a photodetector followed by a leading edge detector. A time interval unit (TIU) measures the time from the transmitted laser pulse to the leading edge of the received pulse as it crosses a preset threshold. However, the ranging error of this simple detection scheme depends on the received, pulse amplitude, pulse shape, and the threshold. In practice, the pulse shape and the amplitude are determined by the target target characteristics which has to be assumed unknown prior to the measurement. The ranging error can be improved if one also measures the pulse width and use the average of the leading and trailing edges (half pulse width) as the pulse arrival time. The ranging error becomes independent of the received pulse amplitude and the pulse width as long as the pulse shape is symmetric. The pulse width also gives the slope of the target. The ultimate detection scheme is to digitize the received waveform and calculate the centroid as the pulse arrival time. The centroid detection always gives unbiased measurement even for asymmetric pulses. In this report, we analyze the laser altimeter ranging errors for these three detection schemes using the Mars Orbital Laser Altimeter (MOLA) as an example.

  19. Receiver design, performance analysis, and evaluation for space-borne laser altimeters and space-to-space laser ranging systems

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Davidson, Frederic M.; Sun, Xiaoli; Field, Christopher T.

    1995-05-01

    Laser altimeters measure the time of flight of the laser pulses to determine the range of the target. The simplest altimeter receiver consists of a photodetector followed by a leading edge detector. A time interval unit (TIU) measures the time from the transmitted laser pulse to the leading edge of the received pulse as it crosses a preset threshold. However, the ranging error of this simple detection scheme depends on the received, pulse amplitude, pulse shape, and the threshold. In practice, the pulse shape and the amplitude are determined by the target target characteristics which has to be assumed unknown prior to the measurement. The ranging error can be improved if one also measures the pulse width and use the average of the leading and trailing edges (half pulse width) as the pulse arrival time. The ranging error becomes independent of the received pulse amplitude and the pulse width as long as the pulse shape is symmetric. The pulse width also gives the slope of the target. The ultimate detection scheme is to digitize the received waveform and calculate the centroid as the pulse arrival time. The centroid detection always gives unbiased measurement even for asymmetric pulses. In this report, we analyze the laser altimeter ranging errors for these three detection schemes using the Mars Orbital Laser Altimeter (MOLA) as an example.

  20. SRTM and Laser Altimeter Views of Western Washington State Topography

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Harding, D. J.; Carabajal, C. C.

    2001-12-01

    Interferometric Synthetic Aperture Radar (InSAR) and laser altimeter measurements of topography provide complimentary approaches to characterize landforms. Results from the Shuttle Radar Topography Mission (SRTM) will provide an unprecedented, near-global, public-domain topography data set at 90 m resolution using a single pass C-band (5.6 cm wavelength) radar interferometer. In vegetated terrains, the C-band radar energy will penetrate part way into vegetation cover. The elevation of the resulting radar phase center, somewhere between the canopy top and underlying ground, will depend on the vegetation density, structure, and presence or absence of foliage. The high vertical accuracy and spatial resolution achieved by laser altimeters, and their capability to directly measure vegetation height and ground topography beneath vegetation cover, provides a method to evaluate InSAR representations of topography. Here a preliminary C-band SRTM digital elevation model (DEM) for a portion of western Washington State is evaluated using laser altimeter data to assess its elevation accuracy and the extent of vegetation penetration. The SRTM DEM extends from the Cascades Range westward to the Olympic Peninsula. The laser altimeter data includes two profiles acquired by the second flight of the Shuttle Laser Altimeter (SLA-02) in August, 1997, numerous transects acquired by the airborne Scanning Lidar Imager of Canopies by Echo Recovery (SLICER) in September, 1995, and comprehensive mapping in the Puget Lowland region acquired by Terrapoint, LLC for the Puget Sound Lidar Consortium in the winters of 2000 and 2001. SLA-02 and SLICER acquired waveforms that record the height distribution of illuminated surfaces within 120 m and 10 m diameter footprints, respectively. The Terrapoint elevations consist of up to four discrete returns from 1 m footprints spaced 1.5 apart, with all areas mapped twice. Methods for comparing laser altimeter and SRTM topography developed here will be

  1. Development of the Mars Observer Laser Altimeter (MOLA)

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Johnson, Bertrand L., Jr

    1993-01-01

    The Mars Observer (MO) spacecraft payload scientific mission is to gather data on Martian global topography, gravity, weather, magnetic field and its interaction with the solar flux, surface chemistry, and mineralogy over one Mars year. In mid-1988 the need for a replacement altimeter as part of the payload complement arose. The Mars Observer Laser Altimeter (MOLA) was proposed by GSFC as an in-house effort and shortly afterward was 'conditionally' accepted. Constraints on funding, schedule, power, and mass were imposed with periodic reviews during the instrument development to authorize continuation. MOLA was designed, tested, and delivered in less than 36 months and integrated with the spacecraft. During spacecraft payload testing, the laser failed due to contamination in the laser cavity. In only 6 months, the laser was removed, rebuilt from spare parts, retested, and the instrument reassembled, realigned, requalified, and again delivered for spacecraft integration. Other aspects of the development of the MOLA are presented.

  2. Geoscience Laser Altimeter System (GLAS) for the ICESat Mission

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Abshire, James B.; Sun, Xiaoli; Ketchum, Eleanor A.; Millar, Pamela S.; Riris, Haris

    2002-01-01

    The Geoscience Laser Altimeter System (GLAS) is a new generation lidar and is the primary science payload for NASA's ICESat Mission. The GLAS design combines a 10 cm precision surface lidar with a sensitive dual wavelength cloud and aerosol lidar. GLAS will precisely measure the heights of the Earth's polar ice sheets, establish a grid of accurate height profiles of the Earth's land topography, and profile the vertical distribution of clouds and aerosols on a global scale. GLAS will be integrated onto a small spacecraft built by Ball Aerospace, and will be launched into a polar orbit with a 590-630 km altitude at an inclination of 94 degrees. ICESat is is currently planned to launch in winter 2002/03 and GLAS is designed to operate continuously in space for a minimum of 3 years. GLAS will measure the vertical distance from orbit to the Earth's surface with pulses from a ND:YAG laser at a 40 Hz rate. Each 6 nsec wide 1064 nm laser pulse is used to produce a single range measurement. On the surface, the laser footprints have 66 m diameter and approx. 170 m center-center spacings. The GLAS receiver uses a I m diameter telescope to detect laser backscatter and a Si APD to detect the 1064 nm signals. The detector's output is sampled by a digital ranging receiver, which records each transmitted pulse and surface echo waveform with 1 nsec (15 cm) resolution. Each echo pulse is digitized and is reported to ground with a record length of from 200 to 544 samples, depending on the spacecraft's location . The GLAS location and epoch times are measured by a precision GPS receiver carried on the ICESat spacecraft. Initial processing of the echo waveforms within GLAS permits discrimination between cloud and surface echoes for selecting appropriate waveform samples. This selection is guided by an on-board DEM which is used to set the boundaries for the echo pulse search algorithm. Subsequent ground-based echo pulse analysis, along with GPS-based clock frequency estimates, permit

  3. Return Echoes from Medium-Large Footprint Laser Altimeters

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Blair, J. Bryan; Hofton, Michelle A.; Rabine, David L.

    1999-01-01

    For just over 10 years, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center has been at the forefront of developing return echo laser altimeters and analysis techniques for a variety of both space and airborne applications. In 1991, the Laser Remote Sensing Branch began investigating the use of medium-large diameter footprint return waveforms for measuring vegetation height and structure and sub-canopy topography. Over the last 8 years, using a variety of profiling and scanning laser altimeters (i.e. ATLAS, SLICER, SLA, and LVIS), we have collected return waveforms over a variety of terrestrial surface types. We describe the effects of instrument characteristics and within-footprint surface structure on the shape of the return waveform and suggest several techniques for extracting this information. Specifically for vegetation returns, we describe the effects of canopy parameters such as architecture and closure on the shape of the return waveform. Density profiles, statistics, and examples from a variety of vegetation types will be presented, as well as comparisons with small-footprint laser altimeter data.

  4. Simulation of Full-Waveform Laser Altimeter Echowaveform

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Lv, Y.; Tong, X. H.; Liu, S. J.; Xie, H.; Luan, K. F.; Liu, J.

    2016-06-01

    Change of globe surface height is an important factor to study human living environment. The Geoscience Laser Altimeter System (GLAS) on ICESat is the first laser-ranging instrument for continuous global observations of the Earth. In order to have a comprehensive understanding of full-waveform laser altimeter, this study simulated the operating mode of ICESat and modeled different terrains' (platform terrain, slope terrain, and artificial terrain) echo waveforms based on the radar equation. By changing the characteristics of the system and the targets, numerical echo waveforms can be achieved. Hereafter, we mainly discussed the factors affecting the amplitude and size (width) of the echoes. The experimental results implied that the slope of the terrain, backscattering coefficient and reflectivity, target height, target position in the footprint and area reacted with the pulse all can affect the energy distribution of the echo waveform and the receiving time. Finally, Gaussian decomposition is utilized to decompose the echo waveform. From the experiment, it can be noted that the factors which can affect the echo waveform and by this way we can know more about large footprint full-waveform satellite laser altimeter.

  5. Optical system design and integration of the Mars Observer Laser Altimeter.

    PubMed

    Ramos-Izquierdo, L; Bufton, J L; Hayes, P

    1994-01-20

    The Mars Observer Laser Altimeter, developed for flight on the Mars Observer spacecraft payload in September 1992, is designed to measure the topography of the Martian surface over a 2-year period from a 400-km mapping orbit. A 40 mJ pulse diode-pumped laser together with a 0.5-m-diameter beryllium telescope and a silicon avalanche photodiode are the principal optical subassemblies of this active remote-sensing instrument. Optical design rationale and measured optical performances during assembly and integration are presented. PMID:20862020

  6. Remote sensing of sea state by laser altimeters

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Tsai, B.; Gardner, C. S.

    1981-01-01

    The reflection of short laser pulses from the ocean surface was analyzed based on the specular point theory of scattering. The expressions for the averaged received signal, shot noise and speckle induced noise were derived for a direct detection system. It is found that the reflected laser pulses have an average shape closely related to the probability density function associated with the surface profile. This result is applied to estimate the mean sea level and significant wave height from the receiver output of the laser altimeter.

  7. Receiver characteristics of laser altimeters with avalanche photodiodes

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Sun, Xiaoli; Davidson, Frederic M.; Boutsikaris, Leo; Abshire, James B.

    1992-01-01

    The receiver characteristics of a laser altimeter system containing an avalanche photodiode photodetector are analyzed using the Gaussian approximation, the saddle-point approximation, and a nearly exact analysis. The last two methods are shown to yield very similar results except when the background noise is extremely low and the probability of false alarm is high. However, the Gaussian approximation method is shown to cause significant errors even under relatively high levels of background noise and received signal energy.

  8. Multicolor laser altimeter for barometric measurements over the ocean - Experimental

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Abshire, J. B.; Kalshoven, J. E., Jr.

    1983-01-01

    Measurement theory and results from testing a breadboard multiwavelength (355-, 532- and 1064-nm) laser altimeter over horizontal paths are presented. They show that pressure accuracies of 3 mbar can be achieved when ranging at nadir to cube corner targets when using a 500-psec resolution waveform digitizer and utilizing new calibration techniques. Streak camera-based receivers will be required for the same or higher accuracies when ranging to the ocean surface. System design calculations for aircraft and spaceborne experiments are presented.

  9. Comparison of retracking algorithms using airborne radar and laser altimeter measurements of the Greenland ice sheet

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Ferraro, Ellen J.; Swift, Calvin T.

    1995-05-01

    In 1991, NASA conducted a multisensor airborne altimetry experiment over the Greenland ice sheet. The experiment consisted of ten flights. Four types of radar altimeter retracking algorithms which include the Advanced Application Flight Experiment (AAFE) Ku-band altimeter, the NASA Airborne Oceanographic Lidar (AOL), the NASA Airborne Terrain Laser Altimeter System (ATLAS) and the NASA Ka-band Surface Contour Radar (SCR) were used. In this paper, these four continental ice sheet radar altimeter tracking algorithms were compared.

  10. Utility of laser altimeter and stereoscopic terrain models: Application to Martian craters

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Robbins, Stuart J.; Hynek, Brian M.

    2013-09-01

    The use of numerical datasets of the same type derived from remote sensing instruments is often treated as equivalent in value and utility, within the limits of their spatial resolution. Surface topography is a good example of this. We used gridded digital terrain models (DTMs) derived from both laser altimetry and stereo pairs as well as the original laser data points to quantify the topography of impact craters, which have well-studied morphometry. The primary purpose was to test the accuracy of laser data given an image-based DTM with approximately a factor of 10 better spatial resolution; we used the Mars Orbiter Laser Altimeter and High-Resolution Stereo Camera datasets for this work. We found that the ability to derive accurate topographic information in laser altimetry diminished well before the ability to visually resolve the feature in the dataset, but we also found that laser point and gridded data-based results were in good agreement down to their resolution limits. Relative to the image-based DTM, pixel-for-pixel, the laser data were more useful in their ability to visibly resolve the impact craters. This work has implications for remote sensing in general, but specifically the application to limited sources of data for planetary surface topography, such as Mercury where the northern hemisphere topography is being measured with a laser altimeter but the southern hemisphere topography is based only on stereo pairs.

  11. Lessons Learned from the Advanced Topographic Laser Altimeter System

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Garrison, Matt; Patel, Deepak; Bradshaw, Heather; Robinson, Frank; Neuberger, Dave

    2016-01-01

    The ICESat-2 Advanced Topographic Laser Altimeter System (ATLAS) instrument is an upcoming Earth Science mission focusing on the effects of climate change. The flight instrument passed all environmental testing at GSFC (Goddard Space Flight Center) and is now ready to be shipped to the spacecraft vendor for integration and testing. This presentation walks through the lessons learned from design, hardware, analysis and testing perspective. ATLAS lessons learned include general thermal design, analysis, hardware, and testing issues as well as lessons specific to laser systems, two-phase thermal control, and optical assemblies with precision alignment requirements.

  12. LASER ALTIMETER CANOPY HEIGHT PROFILES: METHODS AND VALIDATION FOR CLOSED-CANOPY, BROADLEAF FORESTS. (R828309)

    EPA Science Inventory

    Abstract

    Waveform-recording laser altimeter observations of vegetated landscapes provide a time-resolved measure of laser pulse backscatter energy from canopy surfaces and the underlying ground. Airborne laser altimeter waveform data was acquired using the Scanning Lid...

  13. The geoscience laser altimeter system (GLAS)

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Abshire, James B.; Smith, James C.; Schutz, Bob E.

    1998-01-01

    GLAS is a space-based lidar designed for NASA's Earth Science Enterprise's Icesat Mission. It is being designed to precisely measure the heights of the polar ice sheets, to determine the height profiles of the Earth's land topography, and to profile the vertical structure of clouds and aerosols on a global scale. GLAS will fly on a small dedicated spacecraft in a polar orbit at 598 km altitude with an inclination of 94 degrees. The instrument is being developed to launch in July 2001 and to operate continuously at 40 Hz for a minimum of 3 years with a goal of 5 years.

  14. Multicolor laser altimeter for barometric measurements over the ocean - Theoretical

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Gardner, C. S.; Tsai, B. M.; Im, K. E.

    1983-01-01

    It is noted that the optical path length from a satellite to the earth's surface strongly depends on the atmospheric pressure along the propagation path. The theoretical basis of a surface pressure measurement technique, which uses a two-color laser altimeter to observe the change with wavelength in the optical path length from a satellite to the ocean surface, is evaluated. The statistical characteristics of the ocean-reflected pulses and the expected measurement accuracy are analyzed in terms of the altitude parameters. The results show that it is feasible to obtain a pressure accuracy of a few millibars.

  15. Receiver Design, Performance Analysis, and Evaluation for Space-Borne Laser Altimeters and Space-to-Space Laser Ranging Systems

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Davidson, Frederic M.; Sun, Xiaoli; Field, Christopher T.

    1996-01-01

    This progress report consists of two separate reports. The first one describes our work on the use of variable gain amplifiers to increase the receiver dynamic range of space borne laser altimeters such as NASA's Geoscience Laser Altimeter Systems (GLAS). The requirement of the receiver dynamic range was first calculated. A breadboard variable gain amplifier circuit was made and the performance was fully characterized. The circuit will also be tested in flight on board the Shuttle Laser Altimeter (SLA-02) next year. The second report describes our research on the master clock oscillator frequency calibration for space borne laser altimeter systems using global positioning system (GPS) receivers.

  16. Measuring tidal deformations by laser altimetry. A performance model for the Ganymede Laser Altimeter

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Steinbrügge, G.; Stark, A.; Hussmann, H.; Sohl, F.; Oberst, J.

    2015-11-01

    Invaluable information about the interior of icy satellites orbiting close to the giant planets can be gained by monitoring the response of the satellite's surfaces to external tidal forces. Due to its geodetic accuracy, laser altimetry is the method of choice to measure time-dependent radial surface displacements from orbit. We present an instrument performance model with special focus on the capabilities to determine the corresponding tidal Love number h2 and apply the model to the Ganymede Laser Altimeter (GALA) on board of the Jupiter Icy Moons Explorer (JUICE). Based on the instrument and spacecraft performance, we derive the range error and the measurement capabilities of the GALA instrument to determine the amplitude of the tide induced radial displacement of Ganymede's surface using the cross-over technique. We find that h2 of Ganymede can be determined with an accuracy of better than 2% by using data acquired during the nominal mission. Furthermore, we show that this accuracy is sufficient to confirm the presence of a putative subsurface water ocean and, additionally, to constrain the thickness of the overlaying ice shell to ± 20km.

  17. Remote sensing of atmospheric pressure and sea state from satellites using short-pulse multicolor laser altimeters

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Gardner, C. S.; Tsai, B. M.; Abshire, J. B.

    1983-01-01

    Short pulse multicolor laser ranging systems are currently being developed for satellite ranging applications. These systems use Q-switched pulsed lasers and streak tube cameras to provide timing accuracies approaching a few picoseconds. Satellite laser ranging systems was used to evaluate many important geophysical phenomena such as fault motion, polar motion and solid earth tides, by measuring the orbital perturbations of retroreflector equipped satellites. Some existing operational systems provide range resolution approaching a few millimeters. There is currently considerable interest in adapting these highly accurate systems for use as airborne and satellite based altimeters. Potential applications include the measurement of sea state, ground topography and atmospheric pressure. This paper reviews recent progress in the development of multicolor laser altimeters for use in monitoring sea state and atmospheric pressure.

  18. Development of the Laser Altimeter (LIDAR) for Hayabusa2

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Mizuno, T.; Kase, T.; Shiina, T.; Mita, M.; Namiki, N.; Senshu, H.; Yamada, R.; Noda, H.; Kunimori, H.; Hirata, N.; Terui, F.; Mimasu, Y.

    2016-02-01

    Hayabusa2 was launched on 3 December 2014 on an H-IIA launch vehicle from the Tanegashima Space Center, and is, at the time of writing, cruising toward asteroid 162137 Ryugu ( 1999JU3). After reaching the asteroid, it will stay for about 1.5 years to observe the asteroid and collect surface material samples. The light detection and ranging (LIDAR) laser altimeter on Hayabusa2 has a wide dynamic range, from 25 km to 30 m, because the LIDAR is used as a navigation sensor for rendezvous, approach, and touchdown procedures. Since it was designed for use in planetary explorers, its weight is a low 3.5 kg. The LIDAR can serve not only as a navigation sensor, but also as observation equipment for estimating the asteroid's topography, gravity and surface reflectivity (albedo). Since Hayabusa2 had a development schedule of just three years from the start of the project to launch, minimizing development time was a particular concern. A key to shortening the development period of Hayabusa2's LIDAR system was heritage technology from Hayabusa's LIDAR and the SELENE lunar explorer's LALT laser altimeter. Given that the main role of Hayabusa2's LIDAR is to serve as a navigation sensor, we discuss its development from an engineering viewpoint. However, detailed information about instrument development and test results is also important for scientific analysis of LIDAR data and for future laser altimetry in lunar and planetary exploration. Here we describe lessons learned from the Hayabusa LIDAR, as well as Hayabusa2's hardware, new technologies and system designs based on it, and flight model evaluation results. The monolithic laser used in the laser module is a characteristic technology of this LIDAR. It was developed to solve issues with low-temperature storage that were problematic when developing the LIDAR system for the first Hayabusa mission. The new module not only solves such problems but also improves reliability and miniaturization by reducing the number of parts.

  19. An Imaging Laser Altimeter for Lunar Scientific Exploration

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    2002-01-01

    A new approach to laser altimetry is offered by the development of micro-lasers and pixilated detectors that enable very high resolution measurement of topography and relatively wide swath observations. An imaging altimeter with a 8x8 array detector working at a probability of less than a single photon/shot could map the Moon or similar sized body in approximately 2 years and provide 5 meter horizontal resolution topography and a 10 centimeter vertical accuracy. In addition, it would provide surface roughness and surface slopes on similar length scales of 5 meters and be able to address a range of problems for which topography or lunar shape is important at the decimeter level. This includes the topography of the polar regions, where ice is thought to have been identified, and also the cratering history of the Moon which could be assessed with a dataset of uniform quality and high resolution.

  20. Atmospheric Measurements by the 2002 Geoscience Laser Altimeter System Mission

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Spinhirne, James D.; Starr, David OC. (Technical Monitor)

    2002-01-01

    The NASA Earth Observing System (EOS) program is a multiple platform NASA initiative for the study of global change. As part of the EOS project, the Geoscience Laser Altimeter System (GLAS) was selected as a laser sensor filling complementary requirements for several earth science disciplines including atmospheric and surface applications. Late in 2002, the GaAs instrument is to be launched for a three to five year observational mission. For the atmosphere, the instrument is designed to full fill comprehensive requirements for profiling of radiatively significant cloud and aerosol. Algorithms have been developed to process the cloud and aerosol data and provide standard data products. After launch there will be a three-month project to analyze and understand the system performance and accuracy of the data products. As an EOS mission, the GaAs measurements and data products will be openly available to all investigators. An overview of the instrument, data products and evaluation plan is given.

  1. Atmospheric Measurements by the Geoscience Laser Altimeter System: Initial Results

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Spinhirne, J. D.; Palm, S. P.; Hlavka, D. L.; Hart, W. D.; Mahesh, A.; Welton, E. J.

    2003-01-01

    The Geoscience Laser Altimeter System launched in early 2003 is the first satellite instrument in space to globally observe the distribution of clouds and aerosol through laser remote sensing. The instrument is a basic backscatter lidar that operates at two wavelengths, 532 and 1064 nm. The mission data products for atmospheric observations include the calibrated, observed, attenuated backscatter cross section for cloud and aerosol; height detection for multiple cloud layers; planetary boundary layer height; cirrus and aerosol optical depth and the height distribution of aerosol and cloud scattering cross section profiles. The data is expected to significantly enhance knowledge in several areas of atmospheric science, in particular the distribution, transport and influence of atmospheric aerosol. Measurements of the coverage and height of polar and cirrus cloud should be significantly more accurate than previous global measurement. Initial result from the first several months of operation will be presented.

  2. Performance of the NEAR laser altimeter at the asteroid 433 Eros after five years in space

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Cole, Timothy D.; Maurer, Richard H.; Kinnison, James D.

    2002-01-01

    After a 5-year mission, the Near-Earth Asteroid Rendezvous-Shoemaker (NEAR) spacecraft made a controlled landing 12 February 2001 onto the asteroid, 433 Eros. Onboard the spacecraft, the NEAR Laser Rangefinder (NLR), a laser altimeter, gathered over 11 million measurements throughout 2000 and 2001, providing a spatially dense, high-resolution, topographical map of Eros. This instrument, launched in February 1996, was subjected to a constant, albeit, low radiation background predicted during the mission design phase to be 3 krad, cumulative, from solar protons at a shield depth of 1.8 mm aluminum. Using the onboard NLR calibration capability, and through extended observation of NLR measurement performance, the instrument exceeded requirements for this particular radiation environment. Electronic parts for the altimeter had been reviewed, assessed and screened, as necessary, for space quality and radiation hardness during its development. The NEAR mission included an excursion beyond Mars' orbit during its 4-year transit, followed by a one-year mission orbiting the near-Earth asteroid, 433 Eros, continuously collecting altimetry data. The majority of the data collection occurred during solar maximum and, in particular, operated without interruption through the events on Bastille Day, 14 July 2000 (comparable to the large October 1989 events of the previous solar maximum) and 10 November 2000. At Earth, the July 2000 proton level provided in a few days over half of the expected cumulative radiation, predicted through use of Feynman's model. Based on uneventful operation of the NEAR, including the absence of any degradation in solar array currents due to proton displacement damage and the nominal performance of the altimeter, it appears that the 14 July event did not intersect the NEAR location. The NLR-derived topographic data successfully enabled determination of Eros' shape, mass, and density contributing to the understanding the internal structure and collisional

  3. Test Port for Fiber-Optic-Coupled Laser Altimeter

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Ramos Izquierdo, Luis; Scott, V. Stanley; Rinis, Haris; Cavanaugh, John

    2011-01-01

    A test port designed as part of a fiber optic coupled laser altimeter receiver optical system allows for the back-illumination of the optical system for alignment verification, as well as illumination of the detector(s) for testing the receiver electronics and signal-processing algorithms. Measuring the optical alignment of a laser altimeter instrument is difficult after the instrument is fully assembled. The addition of a test port in the receiver aft-optics allows for the back-illumination of the receiver system such that its focal setting and boresight alignment can be easily verified. For a multiple-detector receiver system, the addition of the aft-optics test port offers the added advantage of being able to simultaneously test all the detectors with different signals that simulate the expected operational conditions. On a laser altimeter instrument (see figure), the aft-optics couple the light from the receiver telescope to the receiver detector(s). Incorporating a beam splitter in the aft-optics design allows for the addition of a test port to back-illuminate the receiver telescope and/or detectors. The aft-optics layout resembles a T with the detector on one leg, the receiver telescope input port on the second leg, and the test port on the third leg. The use of a custom beam splitter with 99-percent reflection, 1-percent transmission, and a mirrored roof can send the test port light to the receiver telescope leg as well as the detector leg, without unduly sacrificing the signal from the receiver telescope to the detector. The ability to test the receiver system alignment, as well as multiple detectors with different signals without the need to disassemble the instrument or connect and reconnect components, is a great advantage to the aft-optics test port. Another benefit is that the receiver telescope aperture is fully back-illuminated by the test port so the receiver telescope focal setting vs. pressure and or temperature can be accurately measured (as

  4. Brightening and Volatile Distribution Within Shackleton Crater Observed by the LRO Laser Altimeter.

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Smith, D. E.; Zuber, M. T.; Head, J. W.; Neumann, G. A.; Mazarico, E.; Torrence, M. H.; Aharonson, O.; Tye, A. R.; Fassett, C. I.; Rosengurg, M. A.; Melosh, H. J.

    2012-01-01

    Shackleton crater, whose interior lies largely in permanent shadow, is of interest due to its potential to sequester volatiles. Observations from the Lunar Orbiter Laser Altimeter onboard the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter have enabled an unprecedented topographic characterization, revealing Shackleton to be an ancient, unusually well-preserved simple crater whose interior walls are fresher than its floor and rim. Shackleton floor deposits are nearly the same age as the rim, suggesting little floor deposition since crater formation over 3 billion years ago. At 1064 nm the floor of Shackleton is brighter than the surrounding terrain and the interiors of nearby craters, but not as bright as the interior walls. The combined observations are explainable primarily by downslope movement of regolith on the walls exposing fresher underlying material. The relatively brighter crater floor is most simply explained by decreased space weathering due to shadowing, but a 1-mm-thick layer containing approx 20% surficial ice is an alternative possibility.

  5. The application of the ITRF2014 Product Center solutions with respect to Altimeter Satellite Precise Orbit Determination

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Lemoine, Frank G.; Zelensky, Nikita P.; Couhert, Alexandre; Jalabert, Eva; Chinn, Douglas S.

    2016-04-01

    The IERS product centers, IGN, DGFI, and JPL, have prepared new solution realizations of the International Terrestrial Reference Frame (ITRF), based on the analysis and the combination SINEX solutions submitted by the individual geodetic techniques: Satellite Laser Ranging (SLR), Doppler Orbitography and Radiopositioning Integrated by Satellite (DORIS), Very Long Baseline Interferometry (VLBI), and Global Navigation Satellite Systems (GNSS). We evaluate these solutions with respect to their orbit determination performance, including RMS of fit, and other orbit metrics, including altimeter crossovers, focusing on the altimeter satellites, in particular TOPEX/Poseidon, Jason-1, and Jason-2, but also Cryosat-2 and Envisat. We also evaluate the POD performance using the Jason-2 JPL/reduced-dynamic orbits as a reference. We have conducted a preliminary evaluation of the new solutions so far released, ITRF2014P (IGN), and DTRF2014 (DGFI) with respect to the Jason-2 satellite, and find a significant improvement in the DORIS satellite RMS of fit for DORIS-only orbit computations. Over 260 orbit cycles (July 2008 to August 2015) the RMS of fit improves from 0.3667 mm/s for DPOD2008 to 0.3646 and 0.3645 mm/s for the two new ITRF2014 realizations. The following stations show improvements in RMS of fit of more than 0.02 mm/s, which is significant for DORIS data: KRUB/KRWB (Kourou), CIDB (Cibinong), JIUB (Jiufeng), YEMB (Yellowknife), MATB (Marion Island), FUTB (Futuna), and ARFB (Arequipa). In this paper we also focus on the SLR performance, and we evaluate how the new ITRF2014 reference frame realization can be integrated into the next generation of precision orbit improvements for the Jason series of satellites.

  6. Straylight analysis of the BepiColombo Laser Altimeter

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Weigel, T.; Rugi-Grond, E.; Kudielka, K.

    2008-09-01

    The BepiColombo Laser Altimeter (BELA) shall profile the surface of planet Mercury and operates on the day side as well as on the night side. Because of the high thermal loads, most interior surfaces of the front optics are highly reflective and specular, including the baffle. This puts a handicap on the straylight performance, which is needed to limit the solar background. We present the design measures used to reach an attenuation of about 10-8. We resume the method of backward straylight analysis which starts the rays at the detector and analyses the results in object space. The backward analysis can be quickly compiled and challenges computer resources rather than labor effort. This is very useful in a conceptual design phase when a design is iterated and trade-offs are to be performed. For one design, we compare the results with values obtained from a forward analysis.

  7. Laser altimeter observations from MESSENGER's first Mercury flyby.

    PubMed

    Zuber, Maria T; Smith, David E; Solomon, Sean C; Phillips, Roger J; Peale, Stanton J; Head, James W; Hauck, Steven A; McNutt, Ralph L; Oberst, Jürgen; Neumann, Gregory A; Lemoine, Frank G; Sun, Xiaoli; Barnouin-Jha, Olivier; Harmon, John K

    2008-07-01

    A 3200-kilometers-long profile of Mercury by the Mercury Laser Altimeter on the MESSENGER spacecraft spans approximately 20% of the near-equatorial region of the planet. Topography along the profile is characterized by a 5.2-kilometer dynamic range and 930-meter root-mean-square roughness. At long wavelengths, topography slopes eastward by 0.02 degrees , implying a variation of equatorial shape that is at least partially compensated. Sampled craters on Mercury are shallower than their counterparts on the Moon, at least in part the result of Mercury's higher gravity. Crater floors vary in roughness and slope, implying complex modification over a range of length scales. PMID:18599773

  8. One GHz digitizer for space based laser altimeter

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Staples, Edward J.

    1991-01-01

    This is the final report for the research and development of the one GHz digitizer for space based laser altimeter. A feasibility model was designed, built, and tested. Only partial testing of essential functions of the digitizer was completed. Hybrid technology was incorporated which allows analog storage (memory) of the digitally sampled data. The actual sampling rate is 62.5 MHz, but executed in 16 parallel channels, to provide an effective sampling rate of one GHz. The average power consumption of the one GHz digitizer is not more than 1.5 Watts. A one GHz oscillator is incorporated for timing purposes. This signal is also made available externally for system timing. A software package was also developed for internal use (controls, commands, etc.) and for data communication with the host computer. The digitizer is equipped with an onboard microprocessor for this purpose.

  9. ICESat Laser Altimeter Pointing, Ranging and Timing Calibration from Integrated Residual Analysis: A Summary of Early Mission Results

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Lutchke, Scott B.; Rowlands, David D.; Harding, David J.; Bufton, Jack L.; Carabajal, Claudia C.; Williams, Teresa A.

    2003-01-01

    On January 12, 2003 the Ice, Cloud and land Elevation Satellite (ICESat) was successfUlly placed into orbit. The ICESat mission carries the Geoscience Laser Altimeter System (GLAS), which consists of three near-infrared lasers that operate at 40 short pulses per second. The instrument has collected precise elevation measurements of the ice sheets, sea ice roughness and thickness, ocean and land surface elevations and surface reflectivity. The accurate geolocation of GLAS's surface returns, the spots from which the laser energy reflects on the Earth's surface, is a critical issue in the scientific application of these data Pointing, ranging, timing and orbit errors must be compensated to accurately geolocate the laser altimeter surface returns. Towards this end, the laser range observations can be fully exploited in an integrated residual analysis to accurately calibrate these geolocation/instrument parameters. Early mission ICESat data have been simultaneously processed as direct altimetry from ocean sweeps along with dynamic crossovers resulting in a preliminary calibration of laser pointing, ranging and timing. The calibration methodology and early mission analysis results are summarized in this paper along with future calibration activities

  10. A Boresight Adjustment Mechanism for use on Laser Altimeters

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Hakun, Claef; Budinoff, Jason; Brown, Gary; Parong, Fil; Morell, Armando

    2004-01-01

    This paper describes the development of the Boresight Adjustment Mechanism (BAM) for the Geoscience Laser Altimeter System (GLAS) Instrument. The BAM was developed late in the integration and test phase of the GLAS instrument flight program. Thermal vacuum tests of the GLAS instrument indicated that the instrument boresight alignment stability over temperature may be marginal. To reduce the risk that GLAS may not be able to meet the boresight alignment requirements, an intensive effort was started to develop a BAM. Observatory-level testing and further evaluation of the boresight alignment data indicated that sufficient margin could be obtained utilizing existing instrument resources and therefore the BAM was never integrated onto the GLAS Instrument. However, the BAM was designed fabricated and fully qualified over a 4 month timeframe to be capable of precisely steering (< 1 arcsec over 300 arcsec) the output of three independent lasers to ensure the alignment between the transmit and receive paths of the GLAS instrument. The short timeline for the development of the mechanism resulted in several interesting design solutions. This paper discusses the requirement definition, design, and testing processes of the BAM development effort, how the design was affected by the extremely tight development schedule, and the lessons learned throughout the process.

  11. A Boresight Adjusment Mechanism For Use in Laser Altimeters

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Hakun, Claef; Budinoff, Jason; Brown, Gary; Parong, Fil; Morell, Armando

    2004-01-01

    This paper describes the development of the Boresight Adjustment Mechanism (BAM) for the Geoscience Laser Altimeter System (GLAS) Instrument. The BAM was developed late in the integration and test phase of the GLAS instrument flight program. Thermal vacuum tests of the GLAS instrument indicated that the instrument-boresight alignment stability over temperature may be marginal. To reduce the risk that GLAS may not be able to meet the boresight alignment requirements an intensive effort was started to develop a BAM. Observatory-level testing and further evaluation of the boresight alignment data indicated that sufficient margin could be obtained utilizing existing instrument resources and therefore the BAM was never integrated onto the GLAS Instrument. However, the BAM was designed fabricated and fully qualified over a 4 month timeframe to be capable of precisely steering (less than 2 arcsec over plus or minus 300 arcsec) the output of three independent lasers to ensure the alignment between the transmit and receive paths of the GLAS instrument. The short timeline for the development of the mechanism resulted in several interesting design solutions. This paper discusses the requirement definition design, and testing processes of the BAM development effort how the design was affected by the extremely tight development schedule and the lessons learned throughout the process.

  12. Atmospheric Science Measurements by the EOS Geoscience Laser Altimeter System

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Spinhirne, James

    1999-01-01

    Scheduled for Launch in July 2001, the Geoscience Laser Altimeter System (GLAS) is to be the first satellite instrument to provide full global lidar profiling of clouds and aerosol in the earth's atmosphere. GLAS is an EOS program instrument that is on its own satellite, now called the Ice, Cloud and land Elevation Satellite. The instrument is both a surface laser ranging system and an atmospheric profiling lidar. A most important surface measurement for the instrument is to study the change in the mass balance of the polar ice sheets by measuring the change in regional altitudes to an accuracy of 1.5 cm per year. The strategy to combine the surface measurement with a Cloud and aerosol lidar profiling mission is based on the compatibility of the altimetry instrument requirements with those for the required lidar measurements. The primary atmospheric science goal of the GLAS cloud and aerosol measurement is to determine the radiative forcing and vertically resolved atmospheric heating rate due to cloud and aerosol by directly observing the vertical structure and magnitude of cloud and aerosol parameters that are important for the radiative balance of the earth-atmosphere system, but which are ambiguous or impossible to obtain from existing or planned passive remote sensors. A further goal is to directly measure the height of atmospheric transition layers (inversions) which are important for dynamics and mixing, the planetary boundary layer and lifting condensation level.

  13. Modeling Laser Altimeter Return Waveforms Over Complex Vegetation Using High-Resolution Elevation Data

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Blair, J. Bryan; Hofton, Michelle A.

    1999-01-01

    The upcoming generation of laser altimeters record the interaction of emitted laser radiation with terrestrial surfaces in the form of a digitized waveform. We model these laser altimeter return waveforms as the sum of the reflections from individual surfaces within laser footprints, accounting for instrument-specific properties. We compare over 1000 modeled and recorded waveform pairs using the Pearson correlation. We show that we reliably synthesize the vertical structure information for vegetation canopies contained in a medium-large diameter laser footprint from a high-resolution elevation data set.

  14. Mercury's rotational state from combined MESSENGER laser altimeter and image data

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Stark, Alexander; Oberst, Jürgen; Preusker, Frank; Margot, Jean-Luc; Phillips, Roger J.; Neumann, Gregory A.; Smith, David E.; Zuber, Maria T.; Solomon, Sean C.

    2016-04-01

    With orbital data from the MErcury Surface, Space ENvironment, GEochemistry, and Ranging (MESSENGER) spacecraft, we measured the rotational state of Mercury. We developed a novel approach that combined digital terrain models from stereo images (stereo DTMs) and laser altimeter data, and we applied it to 3 years of MESSENGER observations. We find a large libration amplitude, which in combination with the measured obliquity confirms that Mercury possesses a liquid outer core. Our results confirm previous Earth-based observations of Mercury's rotational state. However, we measured a rotation rate that deviates significantly from the mean resonant rotation rate. The larger rotation rate can be interpreted as the signature of a long-period libration cycle. From these findings we derived new constraints on the interior structure of Mercury. The measured rotational parameters define Mercury's body-fixed frame and are critical for the coordinate system of the planet as well as for planning the future BepiColombo spacecraft mission.

  15. Geoscience Laser Altimeter System (GLAS) on the ICESat Mission: Initial Science Measurement Performance

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Abshire, James B.; Sun, Xiaoli; Riris, Haris; Sirota, Marcos; McGarry, J.; Palm, Steve

    2003-01-01

    The Geoscience Laser Altimeter System is the space lidar on the NASA ICESat mission. Its design combines an altimeter with 5 cm precision with a laser pointing angle determination system and a dual wavelength cloud and aerosol lidar. GLAS measures the range to the Earth s surface with 1064 nm laser pulses. Each laser pulse produces a precision pointing measurement from the stellar reference system (SRS) and an echo pulse waveform, which permits range determination and waveform spreading analysis. The single shot ranging accuracy is < 10 cm for ice surfaces with slopes < 2 degrees. GLAS also measures atmospheric backscatter profiles at both 1064 and 532 nm. The 1064 nm measurements use an analog Si APD detector and measure the height and profile the backscatter signal from thicker clouds. The measurements at 532 nm use photon counting detectors, and will measure the vertical height distributions of optically thin clouds and aerosol layers Before launch, the measurement performance of GLAS was evaluated using a lidar test instrument called the Bench Check Equipment (BCE). The BCE was developed in parallel with GLAS and served as an inverse altimeter, inverse lidar and a stellar source simulator. It was used to simulate the range of expected optical inputs to the GLAS receiver by illuminating its telescope with simulated background light as well as laser echoes with known powers, energy levels, widths and delay times. The BCE also allowed monitoring of the transmitted laser energy, the angle measurements of the SRS, the co-alignment of the transmitted laser beam to the receiver line of sight, and performance of the flight science algorithms. Performance was evaluated during the GLAS development, before and after environmental tests, and after delivery to the spacecraft. The ICESat observatory was launched into a 94 degree inclination, 590 km altitude circular polar orbit on January 12,2003. Beginning in early February, GLAS was powered on tested in stages. Its 1064 nm

  16. An Overview of Observations of Mars' North Polar Region From the Mars Global Surveyor Laser Altimeter

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Smith, D. E.; Zuber, M. T.

    1998-01-01

    Since its arrival at Mars on September l5, 1997, the Mars Global Surveyor (MGS) has been in a near-polar elliptical orbit, with the orbital eccentricity decreasing during orbital periapse passes where the spacecraft aerobrakes through the martian atmosphere. The Mars Orbiter Laser Altimeter (MOLA), an instrument on the MGS, has the ability to range to the martian surface during nonaerobraking passes. MOLA can operate whenever the range from the spacecraft to the surface is less than 786 km, with the limit determined by the number of bits encoded for the range measurement During the capture orbit, aerobraking hiatus, and science phasing orbit (SPO) mission phases, MOLA acquired approximately 200 profiles across the northern hemisphere of Mars and provided more than 2,000,000 measurements of the radius of the planet. These observations cover the region from the north pole to about 10 degrees S latitude with a precision of a few tens of centimeters and an accuracy (at present) of about 30 in. Absolute accuracy of the elevations is limited by the knowledge of the MGS orbits; these should improve later in the mission due to a more optimal tracking geometry, an improved gravitational field, and the use of the high-gain antenna once the spacecraft achieves its approximately 400-km-altitude circular mapping orbit. MOLA measurements so far show a planet with a low, flat high-latitude region in the north and a higher, topographically rougher terrain nearer the equator. The north polar cap stands approximately 2-3 km above the surrounding terrain and displays deep chasms and complex structure. MOLA measurements of elevation, 1064-nm reflectivity, and backscattered pulse width indicate that the layered terrains are composed mainly of ice.

  17. Improvement of Europa's Gravity and Body Tides and Shape with a Laser Altimeter during a Flyby Tour

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Mazarico, E.; Genova, A.; Smith, D. E.; Zuber, M. T.

    2014-12-01

    Laser altimeters have been primarily utilized with orbiter spacecraft. Recently, the Mercury Laser Altimeter on MESSENGER successfully operated at Mercury during two flybys and thousands of highly-elliptical orbits, and contributed greatly towards improved understanding of the innermost planet. We show that a laser altimeter instrument on a flyby tour mission such as the planned NASA Europa Clipper can constrain key geophysical parameters when supported by variable-frequency altimetric measurements over repeated ~145°-long arcs across the surface. Previous work by Park et al. (2011, GRL) showed through covariance analysis that a similar trajectory could yield the gravity tidal Love number k2 to good accuracy (0.05). Here, we conduct a full simulation of a 45-flyby trajectory in the Jupiter system with Europa as primary target. We consider reasonable tracking coverage and noise level (dominated by plasma noise), as well as gravity (degree 50) and topography (200m resolution supplemented by realistic fractal noise at shorter wavelengths), informed by relevant existing data (Galileo, Cassini). The simulation is initialized at pessimistic values, with C20, C22, k2, and h2 in error of 90%, 90%, 50%, and 50%, respectively. All other gravity coefficients up to degree 3 have zero a priori values. Assumed altimetric data sampling and noise are derived from the tour trajectory and the instrument performance described by Smith et al. (this meeting). This variable-frequency laser altimeter can greatly improve the surface coverage (for shape recovery) and the number of altimetric crossovers, the best measurement type to constrain the tidal surface deformation. We find from our simulation that the addition of altimetry data significantly improves the determination of the gravity tidal Love number k2 and enables the recovery of the body tidal Love number h2. Low-degree gravity and topography are most important to constrain the interior structure of Europa. Scientific objectives

  18. The Laser Vegetation Imaging Sensor (LVIS): An Airborne Laser Altimeter for Mapping Vegetation and Topography

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Bryan, J.; Rabine, David L.

    1998-01-01

    The Laser Vegetation Imaging Sensor (LVIS) is an airborne laser altimeter designed to quickly and extensively map surface topography as well as the relative heights of other reflecting surfaces within the laser footprint. Since 1997, this instrument has primarily been used as the airborne simulator for the Vegetation Canopy Lidar (VCL) mission, a spaceborne mission designed to measure tree height, vertical structure and ground topography (including sub-canopy topography). LVIS is capable of operating from 500 m to 10 km above ground level with footprint sizes from 1 to 60 m. Laser footprints can be randomly spaced within the 7 degree telescope field-of-view, constrained only by the operating frequency of the ND:YAG Q-switched laser (500 Hz). A significant innovation of the LVIS altimeter is that all ranging, waveform recording, and range gating are performed using a single digitizer, clock base, and detector. A portion of the outgoing laser pulse is fiber-optically fed into the detector used to collect the return signal and this entire time history of the outgoing and return pulses is digitized at 500 Msamp/sec. The ground return is then located using software digital signal processing, even in the presence of visibly opaque clouds. The surface height distribution of all reflecting surfaces within the laser footprint can be determined, for example, tree height and ground elevation. To date, the LVIS system has been used to monitor topographic change at Long Valley caldera, CA, as part of NASA's Topography and Surface Change program, and to map tree structure and sub-canopy topography at the La Selva Biological Research Station in Costa Rica, as part of the pre-launch calibration activities for the VCL mission. We present results that show the laser altimeter consistently and accurately maps surface topography, including sub-canopy topography, and vegetation height and structure. These results confirm the measurement concept of VCL and highlight the benefits of

  19. A preliminary estimate of geoid-induced variations in repeat orbit satellite altimeter observations

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Brenner, Anita C.; Beckley, B. D.; Koblinsky, C. J.

    1990-01-01

    Altimeter satellites are often maintained in a repeating orbit to facilitate the separation of sea-height variations from the geoid. However, atmospheric drag and solar radiation pressure cause a satellite orbit to drift. For Geosat this drift causes the ground track to vary by + or - 1 km about the nominal repeat path. This misalignment leads to an error in the estimates of sea surface height variations because of the local slope in the geoid. This error has been estimated globally for the Geosat Exact Repeat Mission using a mean sea surface constructed from Geos 3 and Seasat altimeter data. Over most of the ocean the geoid gradient is small, and the repeat-track misalignment leads to errors of only 1 to 2 cm. However, in the vicinity of trenches, continental shelves, islands, and seamounts, errors can exceed 20 cm. The estimated error is compared with direct estimates from Geosat altimetry, and a strong correlation is found in the vicinity of the Tonga and Aleutian trenches. This correlation increases as the orbit error is reduced because of the increased signal-to-noise ratio.

  20. The use of laser altimetry in the orbit and attitude determination of Mars Global Surveyor

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Rowlands, D. D.; Pavlis, D. E.; Lemoine, F. G.; Neumann, G. A.; Luthcke, S. B.

    Altimetry from the Mars Observer Laser Altimeter (MOLA), an instrument on board the Mars Global Surveyor (MGS) spacecraft, has been analyzed for the period of the MGS Science Phasing Orbit-1 (SPO-1) mission phase. Altimeter ranges have been used to improve significantly the orbit and attitude knowledge of the spacecraft by the use of crossover constraint equations derived from short passes of the MOLA data. These constraint equations differ from traditional crossover constraints and exploit the small footprint associated with laser altimetry. The rationale for using this technique with laser altimetry over sloping terrain is laid out and evidence of the resulting benefit is presented.

  1. Waveform model of a laser altimeter for an elliptical Gaussian beam.

    PubMed

    Yue, Ma; Mingwei, Wang; Guoyuan, Li; Xiushan, Lu; Fanlin, Yang

    2016-03-10

    The current waveform model of a laser altimeter is based on the Gaussian laser beam of the fundamental mode, whose cross section is a circular spot, whereas some of the cross sections of Geoscience Laser Altimeter System lasers are closer to elliptical spots. Based on the expression of the elliptical Gaussian beam and the waveform theory of laser altimeters, the primary parameters of an echo waveform were derived. In order to examine the deduced expressions, a laser altimetry waveform simulator and waveform processing software were programmed and improved under the circumstance of an elliptical Gaussian beam. The result shows that all the biases between the theoretical and simulated waveforms were less than 0.5%, and the derived model of an elliptical spot is universal and can also be used for the conventional circular spot. The shape of the waveforms is influenced by the ellipticity of the laser spot, the target slope, and the "azimuth angle" between the major axis and the slope direction. This article provides the waveform theoretical basis of a laser altimeter under an elliptical Gaussian beam. PMID:26974789

  2. Dynamic sea surface topography, gravity and improved orbit accuracies from the direct evaluation of SEASAT altimeter data

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Marsh, J. G.; Lerch, F.; Koblinsky, C. J.; Klosko, S. M.; Robbins, J. W.; Williamson, R. G.; Patel, G. B.

    1989-01-01

    A method for the simultaneous solution of dynamic ocean topography, gravity and orbits using satellite altimeter data is described. A GEM-T1 based gravitational model called PGS-3337 that incorporates Seasat altimetry, surface gravimetry and satellite tracking data has been determined complete to degree and order 50. The altimeter data is utilized as a dynamic observation of the satellite's height above the sea surface with a degree 10 model of dynamic topography being recovered simultaneously with the orbit parameters, gravity and tidal terms in this model. PGS-3337 has a geoid uncertainty of 60 cm root-mean-square (RMS) globally, with the uncertainty over the altimeter tracked ocean being in the 25 cm range. Doppler determined orbits for Seasat, show large improvements, with the sub-30 cm radial accuracies being achieved. When altimeter data is used in orbit determination, radial orbital accuracies of 20 cm are achieved. The RMS of fit to the altimeter data directly gives 30 cm fits for Seasat when using PGS-3337 and its geoid and dynamic topography model. This performance level is two to three times better than that achieved with earlier Goddard earth models (GEM) using the dynamic topography from long-term oceanographic averages. The recovered dynamic topography reveals the global long wavelength circulation of the oceans with a resolution of 1500 km. The power in the dynamic topography recovery is now found to be closer to that of oceanographic studies than for previous satellite solutions. This is attributed primarily to the improved modeling of the geoid which has occurred. Study of the altimeter residuals reveals regions where tidal models are poor and sea state effects are major limitations.

  3. Comparison of Retracking Algorithms Using Airborne Radar and Laser Altimeter Measurements of the Greenland Ice Sheet

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Ferraro, Ellen J.; Swift, Calvin T.

    1995-01-01

    This paper compares four continental ice sheet radar altimeter retracking algorithms using airborne radar and laser altimeter data taken over the Greenland ice sheet in 1991. The refurbished Advanced Application Flight Experiment (AAFE) airborne radar altimeter has a large range window and stores the entire return waveform during flight. Once the return waveforms are retracked, or post-processed to obtain the most accurate altitude measurement possible, they are compared with the high-precision Airborne Oceanographic Lidar (AOL) altimeter measurements. The AAFE waveforms show evidence of varying degrees of both surface and volume scattering from different regions of the Greenland ice sheet. The AOL laser altimeter, however, obtains a return only from the surface of the ice sheet. Retracking altimeter waveforms with a surface scattering model results in a good correlation with the laser measurements in the wet and dry-snow zones, but in the percolation region of the ice sheet, the deviation between the two data sets is large due to the effects of subsurface and volume scattering. The Martin et al model results in a lower bias than the surface scattering model, but still shows an increase in the noise level in the percolation zone. Using an Offset Center of Gravity algorithm to retrack altimeter waveforms results in measurements that are only slightly affected by subsurface and volume scattering and, despite a higher bias, this algorithm works well in all regions of the ice sheet. A cubic spline provides retracked altitudes that agree with AOL measurements over all regions of Greenland. This method is not sensitive to changes in the scattering mechanisms of the ice sheet and it has the lowest noise level and bias of all the retracking methods presented.

  4. Modeling Surface Structure Derived from Laser Altimeter Return Waveforms Using High-Resolution Elevation Data

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Blair, J. Bryan; Hofton, M. A.

    1999-01-01

    The upcoming generation of operational spaceborne laser altimeters (i.e VCL and GLAS) record the interaction of emitted laser radiation with terrestrial surfaces in the form of a digitized waveform. We show that we can accurately model return laser altimeter waveforms as the sum of the reflections from individual surfaces within laser footprints. In one case, we predict return waveforms using high resolution elevation data generated by a small-footprint laser altimeter in a dense tropical forest. We compare over 3000 modeled and recorded waveform pairs using the Pearson correlation. The modeled and recorded waveforms are highly correlated, with a mean correlation of 0.90 and a median of 0.95. The mean correlation is highly dependent on the relative positions of the data sets. By shifting the relative locations of the two compared data sets, we infer that the data are colocated to within 0.4$\\sim$m horizontally and 0.12$\\sim$m vertically. The high degree of correlation shows that we can reliably synthesize the vertical structure information measured by medium-large footprint laser altimeters for complex, dense vegetation.

  5. The Geoscience Laser Altimeter System (GLAS) for the ICESAT Mission

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Abshire, James B.; Sun, Xiao-Li; Ketchum, Eleanor A.; Afzal, Robert S.; Millar, Pamela S.

    1999-01-01

    Accurate measurements of surface heights and atmospheric backscatter have been demonstrated with the SLA, MOLA and LITE space lidar. Recent MOLA measurements of the Mars surface have 40 cm resolution and have reduced the global uncertainty in Mars topography from a few km to approx. 10 m. GLAS is a next generation lidar being developed as part of NASA's Icesat Mission for Earth orbit . The GLAS design combines a 10 cm precision surface lidar with a sensitive dual wavelength cloud and aerosol lidar. GLAS will precisely measure the heights of the Earth's polar ice sheets, determine the height profiles of the Earth's land topography, and profile the vertical backscatter of clouds and aerosols on a global scale. GLAS will fly on a small dedicated spacecraft in a polar orbit at 598 km altitude with an inclination of 94 degrees. GLAS is scheduled to launch in summer 2001 and to operate continuously for a minimum of 3 years with a goal of 5 years. The primary mission for GLAS is to measure the seasonal and annual changes in the heights of the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets. GLAS will measure the vertical distance to the ice sheet from orbit with 1064 nm pulses from a Nd:Yag laser at 40 Hz. Each 5 nsec wide laser pulse is used for a single range measurement. When over land GLAS will profile the heights of the topography and vegetation. The GLAS receiver uses a I m diameter telescope and a Si APD detector. The detector signal is sampled by an all digital receiver which records each surface echo waveform with I nsec resolution and a stored echo record lengths of either 200, 400, or 600 samples. Analysis of the echo waveforms within the instrument permits discrimination between cloud and surface echoes. Ground based echo analysis permits precise ranging, determining the roughness or slopes of the surface as well as the vertical distributions of vegetation illuminated by the laser, Errors in knowledge of the laser beam pointing angle can bias height measurements of sloped

  6. The Use of Laser Altimetry in the Orbit and Attitude Determination of Mars Global Surveyor

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Rowlands, D. D.; Pavlis, D. E.; Lemoine, F. G.; Neumann, G. A.; Luthcke, S. B.

    1999-01-01

    Altimetry from the Mars Observer Laser Altimeter (MOLA) which is carried on board Mars Global Surveyor (MGS) has been analyzed for the period of the MOS mission known as Science Phasing Orbit 1 (SPO-1). We have used these altimeter ranges to improve orbit and attitude knowledge for MGS. This has been accomplished by writing crossover constraint equations that have been derived from short passes of MOLA data. These constraint equations differ from traditional Crossover constraints and exploit the small foot print associated with laser altimetry.

  7. The OSIRIS-REx laser altimeter (OLA): Development progress

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Daly, M.; Barnouin, O.; Johnson, C.; Bierhaus, E.; Seabrook, J.; Dickinson, C.; Haltigin, T.; Gaudreau, D.; Brunet, C.; Cunningham, G.; Lauretta, D.; Boynton, W.; Beshore, E.

    2014-07-01

    Introduction: The NASA New Frontiers Origins Spectral Interpretation Resource Identification Security Regolith Explorer (OSIRIS-REx) mission will be the first to sample the B-type asteroid (101955) Bennu [1]. This asteroid is thought to be primitive and carbonaceous, and is probably closely related to CI and/or CM meteorites [2]. The OSIRIS-REx mission hopes to better understand both the physical and geochemical origin and evolution of carbonaceous asteroids through its investigation of Bennu. The OSIRIS-REx spacecraft will launch in September 2016, and arrive at Bennu two years later. The Canadian Space Agency is contributing a scanning lidar system known as the OSIRIS-REx Laser Altimeter (OLA), to the OSIRIS-REx Mission. The OLA instrument is part of suite of onboard instruments [3] including cameras (OCAMS) [4], a visible and near- infrared spectrometer (OVIRS) [5], a thermal emission spectrometer (OTES), and an X-ray imaging spectrometer (REXIS) [6]. OLA Objectives: The OLA instrument has a suite of scientific and mission operations purposes. At a global scale, it will update the shape and mass of Bennu to provide insights on the geological origin and evolution of Bennu, by, for example, further refining constraints on its bulk density. With a carefully undertaken geodesy campaign, OLA-based precision ranges, constraints from radio science (2-way tracking) data and stereo OCAMS images, it will yield broad-scale, quantitative constraints on any internal heterogeneity of Bennu and hence provide further clues to Bennu's origin and subsequent collisional evolution. OLA-derived global asteroid maps of slopes, elevation relative to the asteroid geoid, and vertical roughness will provide quantitative insights on how local-regional surfaces on Bennu evolved subsequent to the formation of the asteroid. In addition, OLA data and derived products support the assessment of the safety and sampleability of potential sample sites. At the sample-site scale, the OLA instrument

  8. Receiver design, performance analysis, and evaluation for space-borne laser altimeters and space-to-space laser ranging systems

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Davidson, Frederic M.; Sun, Xiaoli; Field, Christopher T.

    1994-01-01

    Accomplishments in the following areas of research are presented: receiver performance study of spaceborne laser altimeters and cloud and aerosol lidars; receiver performance analysis for space-to-space laser ranging systems; and receiver performance study for the Mars Environmental Survey (MESUR).

  9. Laser Altimeter Evaluation of an SRTM DEM for Western Washington State

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Carabajal, C. C.; Harding, D. J.

    2002-05-01

    Interferometric Synthetic Aperture Radar (InSAR) and laser altimeter measurements of topography provide complimentary approaches to characterize landforms. Results from the Shuttle Radar Topography Mission (SRTM) will provide an unprecedented, near-global, Digital Elevation Model (DEM) at 30 m resolution using a single pass C-band (5.6 cm wavelength) radar interferometer. In vegetated terrains, the C-band radar energy penetrates part way into vegetation cover. The elevation of the resulting radar phase center, somewhere between the canopy top and underlying ground, depends on the vegetation height, density, structure, and presence or absence of foliage. The high vertical accuracy and spatial resolution achieved by laser altimeters, and their capability to directly measure the vertical distribution of vegetation and underlying ground topography, provides a method to evaluate InSAR representations of topography. In order to provide an independent assessment of SRTM DEM accuracy and error characteristics, a simple but rigorous methodology based on comparisons to airborne and satellite laser altimeter profiles has been developed and tested. Initially, an SRTM DEM produced for a large part of western Washington State by the JPL PI processor has been compared to Shuttle Laser Altimeter (SLA) and airborne Scanning Lidar Imager of Canopies by Echo Recovery (SLICER) data. The accuracy of the laser altimeter data sets has been previously characterized. For SLICER profiles, each about 40 km long, the mean and standard deviation of elevation differences between the SRTM DEM and SLICER-defined canopy top and ground are computed. The SRTM DEM is usually located between the canopy top and ground. A poor correlation is observed between the per-pixel error estimate provided with the SRTM DEM and the observed SLICER to SRTM elevation differences. In addition to these profile comparisons, a very high resolution DEM acquired by Terrapoint, LLC for the Puget Sound Lidar Consortium

  10. Future Applications Using Return-Pulse Correlation from Imaging Laser Altimeters

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Blair, J. Bryan; Hofton, Michelle A.; Rabine, David L.

    2000-01-01

    The Laser Vegetation Imaging Sensor (LVIS) is an airborne, wide-swath, digitization-only laser altimeter capable of collecting full return waveforms (i.e. echoes) from laser footprints ranging in diameter from 1 to 80 m across up to a 1 km wide data swath. The return waveform can be used to enhance the accuracy of laser ranging and to provide information about the vertical structure of vegetation and topography within each laser footprint. Although extremely small laser footprints (< 1 0 cm diameter) generally return simple, impulse responses to their target surface, larger footprints typically exhibit complex returns representing the diverse vertical distributions of surfaces contained in each footprint. Only a handful of airborne and spaceborne laser altimeters record the return echo or return pulse that is reflected from the Earth's surface (i.e. NASA's LVIS, SLA, VCL, and GLAS laser altimeters). Waveforms are currently interpreted to extract a timing or ranging point or points to represent the mean ground elevation or the vertical height of vegetation. But, recent progress using pulse shape correlation techniques shows promise for a variety of science applications involving change detection of surface topography and vegetation as well as potential for improving data processing by correlating images or crossovers to solve systematic biases. We show example correlation images from LVIS and discuss instrument design implications and potential science applications.

  11. Efficient Swath mapping Laser Altimeter Instrument Incubator Program

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Yu, A. W.; Harding, D. J.; Krainak, M.; Abshire, J. B.; Sun, X.; Cavanaugh, J. F.; Valett, S. R.; Ramos-Izquierdo, L.; Instrument Development Team Of Swath Mapping Iip

    2010-12-01

    In this paper we will discuss our progress in a three-year Instrument Incubator Program (IIP) funded by NASA Earth Science Technology Office (ESTO) on swath mapping laser altimetry system. The IIP began in 2009 and we are at the end of the second year. This paper will discuss the system approach, instrument development and enabling technologies for swath mapping laser altimetry. The IIP instrument development is to realize the mission goals and objectives of the Lidar Surface Topography (LIST) mission to simultaneous measure 5-m spatial resolution topography and vegetation vertical structure with decimeter vertical precision in an elevation-imaging swath several km wide from a 400 km altitude Earth orbit. To achieve the IIP goals, we are using a single laser to generate sixteen beams for mapping purpose. Backscatter from the surface is collected with a telescope and the spots from the swath are imaged onto a sensitive detector array. The output from each detector element is histogrammed and analyzed to determine ranges to the surface and derive echo waveforms that characterize the vertical structure of the surface. Multi-threshold signal processing technique allows for through-foliage interrogation in order to observe ground surface beneath vegetation cover and vegetation vertical structure. The approach is flexible and scalable in swath width, pixel width, laser power and telescope size. This work has considerable similarities and challenges as those faced by 3-D imaging laser radar (ladar) systems. In the 3rd year of this IIP, we plan to perform airborne demonstrations of the swath-mapping concept. We will leverage our recent experience on a micropulse lidar airplane demonstration, which was previously demonstrated on an ESTO funded IIP with a 1 µJ per beam, a 10 KHz laser, and a single-photon-threshold detector (Geiger-mode APD) based receiver. Our new lidar using micropulse photon-counting approach will demonstrate a laser with 100 µJ per beam, a 10 kHz pulse

  12. Orbit Determination of the Mars Global Surveyor Spacecraft Using Laser Altimetry

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Smith, David E.; Zuber, M. T.; Lemoine, F. G.; Rowlands, D. D.

    2001-01-01

    Many of the scientific investigations of the Mars Global Surveyor (MGS) mission require high precision orbital information and some are limited entirely by its quality. These include the laser altimeter (MOLA) the Mars gravity field and atmospheric occultation investigations by radio science, and the planetary dynamics and celestial mechanics investigations. The precision of the orbits can usually be assessed by comparing overlapping orbits for a given period; but these results tend to reflect the repeatability rather than the accuracy. The re-constructed orbits from the doppler and range tracking data on MGS are (to date) at the few meter level radially, and a few hundreds of meters horizontally, using the best gravity models, presently available. With the laser altimeter on MGS we have a mechanism to measure the quality and to actually make significant improvements in the orbital accuracy by incorporating the altimetry data as a tracking datatype. By adding the altimeter measurements at orbital cross-over locations we have been able to reduce die radial error to 1 meter of less on average and have reduced the along track and out of plane error by almost 2 orders of magnitude down to a few meters. It is apparent that the altimeter observation provides a geometric strength to the orbit that it is not possible to obtain from the present doppler and the range data alone. We discuss the results obtained for the first year of the MGS mapping orbit. This work is supported by the NASA Mars Program.

  13. A digital elevation model of the Greenland ice sheet and validation with airborne laser altimeter data

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Bamber, Jonathan L.; Ekholm, Simon; Krabill, William B.

    1997-01-01

    A 2.5 km resolution digital elevation model (DEM) of the Greenland ice sheet was produced from the 336 days of the geodetic phase of ERS-1. During this period the altimeter was operating in ice-mode over land surfaces providing improved tracking around the margins of the ice sheet. Combined with the high density of tracks during the geodetic phase, a unique data set was available for deriving a DEM of the whole ice sheet. The errors present in the altimeter data were investigated via a comparison with airborne laser altimeter data obtained for the southern half of Greenland. Comparison with coincident satellite data showed a correlation with surface slope. An explanation for the behavior of the bias as a function of surface slope is given in terms of the pattern of surface roughness on the ice sheet.

  14. The 24 Million Kilometer Optical Link with the Mercury Laser Altimeter

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Coyle, Donald B.

    2006-01-01

    A recent experiment has been completed at NASA Goddard Geophysical and Astronomical Observatory (GGAO) where an optical link has been achieved with the Mercury laser altimeter (MLA) instrument about the Messenger spacecraft on its way to Mercury. A pulsed laser source at 1 micron based on Earth has been recorded on MLA. Simultaneously, the spacecrafts altimeter has been properly aimed and laser pulses transmitted to earth where they were detected and recorded at the same facility. This optical link was used to calibrate and verify operation of the MLA instrument and onboard laser, as well as to gain valuable information with the methods and means of very long range optical communication pointing and receiving techniques. An overview of this experiment, the hardware, and data products will be presented.

  15. Mercury's rotational parameters from MESSENGER image and laser altimeter data: A feasibility study

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Stark, Alexander; Oberst, Jürgen; Preusker, Frank; Gwinner, Klaus; Peale, Stanton J.; Margot, Jean-Luc; Phillips, Roger J.; Zuber, Maria T.; Solomon, Sean C.

    2015-11-01

    A novel method has been developed to determine the rotational parameters of Mercury from data acquired by the MESSENGER spacecraft. We exploit the complementarity of laser altimeter tracks taken at different rotational phases and rigid stereo terrain models to determine a Mercury rotational model. In particular, we solve for the orientation of the spin axis, the rotation rate, and the amplitude of the forced libration. In this paper, we verify the proposed method and carry out an extensive simulation of MESSENGER data acquisition with assumed rotational parameters. To assess the uncertainty in the rotational parameters we use mission-typical assumptions for spacecraft attitude and position knowledge as well as for small-scale terrain morphology. We find that the orientation of the spin axis and the libration amplitude can be recovered with an accuracy of a few arc seconds from three years of MESSENGER orbital observations. The rotation rate can be determined to within 5 arc seconds per year. The method developed here serves as a framework for the ongoing analysis of data from the MESSENGER spacecraft. The rotational parameters of Mercury hold important constraints on the internal structure and evolution of the planet.

  16. Cloud Algorithm Design and Performance for the 2002 Geoscience Laser Altimeter System Mission

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Spinhirne, J. D.; Palm, S. P.; Hart, W. D.; Hlavka, D. L.; Mahesh, A.; Starr, David (Technical Monitor)

    2002-01-01

    A satellite borne lidar instrument, the Geoscience Laser Altimeter System (GLAS), is to be launched in late 2002 and will provide continuous profiling of atmospheric clouds and aerosol on a global basis. Data processing algorithms have been developed to provide operational data products in near real time. Basic data products for cloud observations are the height of the top and bottom of single to multiple cloud layers and the lidar calibrated observed backscatter cross section up to the level of signal attenuation. In addition the optical depth and vertical profile of visible extinction cross section of many transmissive cloud layers and most haze layers are to be derived. The optical thickness is derivable in some cases from the attenuation of the molecular scattering below cloud base. In other cases an assumption of the scattering phase function is required. In both cases a estimated correction for multiple scattering is required. The data processing algorithms have been tested in part from aircraft measurements used to simulated satellite data. The GLAS lidar observations will be made from an orbit that will allow inter comparison with all other existing satellite cloud measurements.

  17. Space Borne Cloud and Aerosol Measurements by the Geoscience Laser Altimeter System: Initial Results

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Spinhirne, James D.; Palm, Steven P.; Hlavka, Dennis L.; Hart, William D.; Mahesh, Ashwin; Welton, Ellsworth J.

    2003-01-01

    In January 2003 the Geoscience Laser Altimeter System (GLAS) was successfully launched into orbit. Beginning in March 2003 GLAS will provide global coverage lidar measurement of the height distribution of clouds and aerosol in the atmosphere for up to five years. The characteristic and value of the unique data will be presented. The instrument is a basic backscatter lidar that operates at two wavelengths, 532 and 1064 nm. The mission data products for atmospheric observations include the calibrated, observed, attenuated backscatter cross section for cloud and aerosol; height detection for multiple cloud layers; planetary boundary layer height; cirrus and aerosol optical depth and the height distribution of aerosol and cloud scattering cross section profiles. The data is expected to significantly enhance knowledge in several areas of atmospheric science, in particular the distribution, transport and influence of atmospheric aerosol and thin clouds. Measurements of the coverage and height of polar and cirrus cloud should be significantly more accurate than previous global observations. In March and April 2003, airborne and ground based data verification experiments will be carried out. Initial results from the verification experiments and the first several months of operation will be presented.

  18. Initial Validation and Results of Geoscience Laser Altimeter System Optical Properties Retrievals

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Hlavka, Dennis L.; Hart, W. D.; Pal, S. P.; McGill, M.; Spinhirne, J. D.

    2004-01-01

    Verification of Geoscience Laser Altimeter System (GLAS) optical retrievals is . problematic in that passage over ground sites is both instantaneous and sparse plus space-borne passive sensors such as MODIS are too frequently out of sync with the GLAS position. In October 2003, the GLAS Validation Experiment was executed from NASA Dryden Research Center, California to greatly increase validation possibilities. The high-altitude NASA ER-2 aircraft and onboard instrumentation of Cloud Physics Lidar (CPL), MODIS Airborne Simulator (MAS), and/or MODIS/ASTER Airborne Simulator (MASTER) under-flew seven orbit tracks of GLAS for cirrus, smoke, and urban pollution optical properties inter-comparisons. These highly calibrated suite of instruments are the best data set yet to validate GLAS atmospheric parameters. In this presentation, we will focus on the inter-comparison with GLAS and CPL and draw preliminary conclusions about the accuracies of the GLAS 532nm retrievals of optical depth, extinction, backscatter cross section, and calculated extinction-to-backscatter ratio. Comparisons to an AERONET/MPL ground-based site at Monterey, California will be attempted. Examples of GLAS operational optical data products will be shown.

  19. Theoretical and experimental analysis of laser altimeters for barometric measurements over the ocean

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Tsai, B. M.; Gardner, C. S.

    1984-01-01

    The statistical characteristics and the waveforms of ocean-reflected laser pulses are studied. The received signal is found to be corrupted by shot noise and time-resolved speckle. The statistics of time-resolved speckle and its effects on the timing accuracy of the receiver are studied in the general context of laser altimetry. For estimating the differential propagation time, various receiver timing algorithms are proposed and their performances evaluated. The results indicate that, with the parameters of a realistic altimeter, a pressure measurement accuracy of a few millibars is feasible. The data obtained from the first airborne two-color laser altimeter experiment are processed and analyzed. The results are used to verify the pressure measurement concept.

  20. Orbit determination of the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter using laser ranging and radiometric tracking data

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Löcher, Anno; Kusche, Jürgen

    2014-05-01

    The Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) launched in 2009 by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) still orbits the Moon in a polar orbit at an altitude of 50 kilometers and below. Its main objective is the detailed exploration of the Moon's surface by means of the Lunar Orbiter Laser Altimeter (LOLA) and three high resolution cameras bundled in the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Camera (LROC) unit. Referring these observations to a Moon-fixed reference frame requires the computation of highly accurate and consistent orbits. For this task only Earth-based observations are available, primarily radiometric tracking data from stations in the United States, Australia and Europe. In addition, LRO is prepared for one-way laser measurements from specially adapted sites. Currently, 10 laser stations participate more or less regularly in this experiment. For operational reasons, the official LRO orbits from NASA only include radiometric data so far. In this presentation, we investigate the benefit of the laser ranging data by feeding both types of observations in an integrated orbit determination process. All computations are performed by an in-house software development based on a dynamical approach improving orbit and force parameters in an iterative way. Special attention is paid to the determination of bias parameters, in particular of timing biases between radio and laser stations and the drift and aging of the LRO spacecraft clock. The solutions from the combined data set will be compared to radio- and laser-only orbits as well as to the NASA orbits. Further results will show how recent gravity field models from the GRAIL mission can improve the accuracy of the LRO orbits.

  1. 20,000 Photons Under the Snow: Subsurface Scattering of Visible Laser Light and the Implications for Laser Altimeters

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Greeley, A.; Kurtz, N. T.; Shappirio, M.; Neumann, T.; Cook, W. B.; Markus, T.

    2014-12-01

    Existing visible light laser altimeters such as ATM (Airborne Topographical Mapper) with NASA's Operation IceBridge and NASA's MABEL (Multiple Altimeter Beam Experimental Lidar; a simulator for NASA's ICESat-2 mission) are providing scientists with a view of Earth's ice sheets, glaciers, and sea ice with unprecedented detail. Measuring how these surfaces evolve in the face of a rapidly changing climate requires the utmost attention to detail in the design and calibration of these instruments, as well as understanding the changing optical properties of these surfaces. As single photon counting lidars, MABEL and NASA's ATLAS (Advanced Topographic Laser Altimeter System) on the upcoming ICESat-2 mission provide fundamentally different information compared with waveform lidars such as ATM, or GLAS (Geoscience Laser Altimeter System) on NASA's previous ICESat-1 mission. By recording the travel times of individual photons, more detailed information about the surface, and potentially the subsurface, are available and must be considered in elevation retrievals from the observed photon cloud. Here, we investigate possible sources of uncertainty associated with monochromatic visible light scattering in subsurface snow, which may affect the precision and accuracy of elevation estimates. We also explore the capacity to estimate snow grain size in near surface snow using experimental visible light laser data obtained in laboratory experiments.

  2. Receiver design, performance analysis, and evaluation for space-borne laser altimeters and space-to-space laser ranging systems

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Davidson, Frederic M.; Sun, Xiaoli; Field, Christopher T.

    1994-01-01

    This interim report consists of two reports: 'Space Radiation Effects on Si APDs for GLAS' and 'Computer Simulation of Avalanche Photodiode and Preamplifier Output for Laser Altimeters.' The former contains a detailed description of our proton radiation test of Si APD's performed at the Brookhaven National Laboratory. The latter documents the computer program subroutines which were written for the upgrade of NASA's GLAS simulator.

  3. In-Flight Thermal Performance of the Geoscience Laser Altimeter System (GLAS) Instrument

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Grob, Eric; Baker, Charles; McCarthy, Tom

    2003-01-01

    The Geoscience Laser Altimeter System (GLAS) instrument is NASA Goddard Space Flight Center's first application of Loop Heat Pipe technology that provides selectable/stable temperature levels for the lasers and other electronics over a widely varying mission environment. GLAS was successfully launched as the sole science instrument aboard the Ice, Clouds, and Land Elevation Satellite (ICESat) from Vandenberg AFB at 4:45pm PST on January 12, 2003. After SC commissioning, the LHPs started easily and have provided selectable and stable temperatures for the lasers and other electronics. This paper discusses the thermal development background and testing, along with details of early flight thermal performance data.

  4. Receiver design, performance analysis, and evaluation for space-borne laser altimeters and space-to-space laser ranging systems

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Davidson, Frederic M.; Field, Christopher T.; Sun, Xiaoli

    1996-01-01

    We report here the design and the performance measurements of the breadboard receiver of the Geoscience Laser Altimeter System (GLAS). The measured ranging accuracy was better than 2 cm and 10 cm for 5 ns and 30 ns wide received laser pulses under the expected received signal level, which agreed well with the theoretical analysis. The measured receiver sensitivity or the link margin was also consistent with the theory. The effects of the waveform digitizer sample rate and resolution were also measured.

  5. JASON-1 Precise Orbit Determination (POD) Through the Combination and Comparison of GPS, SLR, DORIS and Altimeter Crossover Data

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Luthcke, S. B.; Zelensky, N. P.; Lemoine, Frank G.; Chinn, D. S.; Williams, T. A.

    2002-01-01

    Jason-1, launched on December 7, 2001, is continuing the time series of centimeter level ocean topography observations as the follow-on to the highly successful TOPEX/POSEIDON (T/P) radar altimeter satellite. The precision orbit determination (POD) is a critical component to meeting the ocean topography goals of the mission. T/P has demonstrated that the time variation of ocean topography can be determined with an accuracy of a few centimeters, thanks to the availability of highly accurate orbits based primarily on SLR+DORIS tracking. The Jason-1 mission is intended to continue measurement of the ocean surface with the same, if not better accuracy. Fortunately, Jason-1 POD can rely on four independent tracking data types available including near continuous tracking data from the dual frequency codeless BlackJack GPS receiver. Orbit solutions computed using individual and various combinations of GPS, SLR, DORIS and altimeter crossover data types have been determined from over 100 days of Jason-1 tracking data. The performance of the orbit solutions and tracking data has been evaluated. Orbit solution evaluation and comparison has provided insight into possible areas of refinement. Several aspects of the POD process are examined to obtain orbit improvements including measurement modeling, force modeling and solution strategy. The results of these analyses will be presented.

  6. JASON-1 Precise Orbit Determination (POD) Through the Combination and Comparison of GPS, SLR, DORIS and Altimeter Crossover Data

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Luthcke, Scott B.; Zelensky, N. P.; Rowlands, D. D.; Lemoine, F. G.; Chinn, D. S.; Williams, T. A.

    2002-01-01

    Jason-1, launched on December 7,2001, is continuing the time series of centimeter level ocean topography observations as the follow-on to the highly successful TOPEX/POSEIDON (T/P) radar altimeter satellite. The precision orbit determination (POD) is a critical component to meeting the ocean topography goals of the mission. T P has demonstrated that the time variation of ocean topography can be determined with an accuracy of a few centimeters, thanks to the availability of highly accurate orbits based primarily on SLR+DORIS tracking. The Jason-1 mission is intended to continue measurement of the ocean surface with the same, if not better accuracy. Fortunately, Jason- 1 POD can rely on four independent tracking data types available including near continuous tracking data from the dual frequency codeless BlackJack GPS receiver. Orbit solutions computed using individual and various combinations of GPS, SLR, DORIS and altimeter crossover data types have been determined from over 100 days of Jason-1 tracking data, The performance of the orbit solutions and tracking data has been evaluated. Orbit solution evaluation and comparison has provided insight into possible areas of refinement. Several aspects of the POD process are examined to obtain orbit improvements including measurement modeling, force modeling and solution strategy. The results of these analyses will be presented.

  7. Observations of opacity in Mars Orbiter Laser Orbiter experiment. Results from SPO orbit.

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Ivanov, A. B.; Muhleman, D. O.

    1998-09-01

    Mars Orbiter Laser Altimeter (MOLA) is an instrument on board of Mars Global Surveyor spacecraft. The laser operates at 1.064 micron wavelength, emitting 8-nsec-long pulses. MOLA measures topography, reflectivity and returned pulse width. Here we will discuss reflectivity and interpret it in terms of atmospheric opacity. Reflectivity is a ratio of the returned energy to the emitted energy. It can be interpreted as a product of albedo (A) of the Martian surface and two-way atmospheric transmission ( R = A * e({) -2 tau }), where tau is atmospheric opacity. Attenuation of the MOLA signal in the atmosphere is only due to extinction of photons from the laser beam. There are practically no photons scattered into the laser beam. This allows us a very straightforward calculation of opacity, given albedo of the surface. We will present opacity calculations based on IRTM bolometric channel albedo map and red-filter camera images and discuss problems associated with opacity calculations based on these datasets. We were able to obtain values for atmospheric opacity at the MOLA wavelength (1.064 micron) during hiatus orbits (L_s = 180-220) and Science Phasing Orbits (SPO) (L_s = 300 - 367). Preliminary assessment of the results for the equatorial regions indicates clear atmosphere during start of SPO (L_s = 300-316), then opacity peaks at L_s = 330 and slowly decreases till the end of SPO observations. At the same time two other instruments (TES and MOC) on MGS were performing measurements of opacity at their corresponding wavelengths (9 micron and 0.7 micron). Atmospheric opacity is a function of the wavelength due to the scattering properties of the aerosols. We will present our approach for comparison opacity measurements at MOLA, MOC and TES wavelengths. This comparison will allow us to determine particles size distribution properties, which is an important parameter for atmospheric heating.

  8. A Long Distance Laser Altimeter for Terrain Relative Navigation and Spacecraft Landing

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Pierrottet, Diego F.; Amzajerdian, Farzin; Barnes, Bruce W.

    2014-01-01

    A high precision laser altimeter was developed under the Autonomous Landing and Hazard Avoidance (ALHAT) project at NASA Langley Research Center. The laser altimeter provides slant-path range measurements from operational ranges exceeding 30 km that will be used to support surface-relative state estimation and navigation during planetary descent and precision landing. The altimeter uses an advanced time-of-arrival receiver, which produces multiple signal-return range measurements from tens of kilometers with 5 cm precision. The transmitter is eye-safe, simplifying operations and testing on earth. The prototype is fully autonomous, and able to withstand the thermal and mechanical stresses experienced during test flights conducted aboard helicopters, fixed-wing aircraft, and Morpheus, a terrestrial rocket-powered vehicle developed by NASA Johnson Space Center. This paper provides an overview of the sensor and presents results obtained during recent field experiments including a helicopter flight test conducted in December 2012 and Morpheus flight tests conducted during March of 2014.

  9. Estimation of Ganymede's Topography, Rotation and Tidal Deformation - a Study of Synthetic Ganymede Laser Altimeter Observations

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Steinke, T.; Stark, A.; Steinbrügge, G.; Hussmann, H.; Oberst, J.

    2015-10-01

    We implement an iterative least-squares inversion routine to study the estimation of several dynamic Ganymede rotation parameters by laser altimetry. Based on spherical harmonic expansions of the global topography we use simulated Ganymede Laser Al-timeter observations representing the synthetic topography of the satellite. Besides the static topography we determine the dynamical parameters, such as the rotation rate, the amplitudes of physical librations, the spin pole orientation, and the tidal deformation. This parameters may strengthen implications for a liquid ocean beneath Ganymede's icy shell and, in addition, constrain geodetic frame parameters essential for various space-borne experiments.

  10. Two-color short-pulse laser altimeter measurements of ocean surface backscatter.

    PubMed

    Abshire, J B; McGarry, J F

    1987-04-01

    The timing and correlation properties of pulsed laser backscatter from the ocean surface have been measured with a two-color short-pulse laser altimeter. The Nd: YAG laser transmitted 70-and 35-ps wide pulses simultaneously at 532 and 355 nm at nadir, and the time-resolved returns were recorded by a receiver with 800-ps response time. The time-resolved backscatter measured at both 330- and 1291-m altitudes showed little pulse broadening due to the submeter laser spot size. The differential delay of the 355- and 532-nm backscattered waveforms were measured with a rms error of ~75 ps. The change in aircraft altitudes also permitted the change in atmospheric pressure to be estimated by using the two-color technique. PMID:20454319

  11. MGS Mars Orbiter Laser Altimeter Topographic Profile of Impact Crater

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    1997-01-01

    Among the myriad of interesting landforms sampled by MOLA on its first traverse across the Red Planet on 15 September 1997 is this 13-mile (21-kilometer) diameter impact crater located at 48oN. The figure shows the topography, the computed position of the spacecraft groundtrack (solid line) and the track adjusted to correct for image location error (dashed line). The topographic profile provides some of the first indications of how landscape modification has operated in Martian geologic history. The relief of the crater rim, in combination with the steepness (over 20o) of the inner crater wall, are intriguing in that most craters of this size are much more subdued. The shape of the outer ejecta blanket of the crater likely indicates impact into an H2O rich crust. Issues concerning how craters such as this can be used to understand the properties of the uppermost crust of Mars in regions where the role of water and other volatiles may be important can be addressed with the high spatial and vertical resolution topographic profiles that will be acquired by MOLA once it starts its detailed mapping of the Red Planet in March of 1998.

  12. Development of a New Flight Vent for the LOLA Laser Cavity

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Ramsey, W. Lawrence; Rosecrans, Glenn

    2007-01-01

    The Lunar Orbiting Laser Altimeter (LOLA) will fly on the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO). The laser is based upon the one in the Mercury Laser Altimeter (MLA). LOLA will fly two lasers instead of one in the laser cavity. The MLA laser has a six year flight to station.

  13. A BP neural network model for sea state recognition using laser altimeter

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Shi, Chun-bo; Jia, Xiao-dong; Li, Sheng; Wang, Zhen

    2009-07-01

    A BP neural network method for the recognition of sea state in laser altimeter is presented in this paper. Sea wave is the typical stochastic disturbance factor of laser altimeter effecting on low-altitude defense penetration of the intelligent antiship missiles, the recognition of sea state is studied in order to satisfy the practical needs of flying over the ocean. The BP neural network fed with the feature vector of laser range-measurement presents the analysis of features and outputs the estimation result of sea state. The two most distinguishing features are the mean and the variance of the sea echo, which are extracted from the distance characteristics of sea echo using general theory of statistics. The use of a feedforward network trained with the back-propagation algorithm is also investigated. The BP neural network is trained using sample data set to the neural network, and then the BP neural network trained is tested to recognize the sea state waiting for the classification. The network output shows the recognition accuracy of the model can up to 88%, and the results of tests show that the BP neural network model for the recognition of sea state is feasible and effective.

  14. Polarimetric, Two-Color, Photon-Counting Laser Altimeter Measurements of Forest Canopy Structure

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Harding, David J.; Dabney, Philip W.; Valett, Susan

    2011-01-01

    Laser altimeter measurements of forest stands with distinct structures and compositions have been acquired at 532 nm (green) and 1064 nm (near-infrared) wavelengths and parallel and perpendicular polarization states using the Slope Imaging Multi-polarization Photon Counting Lidar (SIMPL). The micropulse, single photon ranging measurement approach employed by SIMPL provides canopy structure measurements with high vertical and spatial resolution. Using a height distribution analysis method adapted from conventional, 1064 nm, full-waveform lidar remote sensing, the sensitivity of two parameters commonly used for above-ground biomass estimation are compared as a function of wavelength. The results for the height of median energy (HOME) and canopy cover are for the most part very similar, indicating biomass estimations using lidars operating at green and near-infrared wavelengths will yield comparable estimates. The expected detection of increasing depolarization with depth into the canopies due to volume multiple-scattering was not observed, possibly due to the small laser footprint and the small detector field of view used in the SIMPL instrument. The results of this work provide pathfinder information for NASA's ICESat-2 mission that will employ a 532 nm, micropulse, photon counting laser altimeter.

  15. MGS Mars Orbiter Laser (MOLA) Surface Topography of Northern Hemisphere

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    1997-01-01

    A 'picket fence' rendition of surface topography in the northern hemisphere of Mars from the Mars Orbiter Laser Altimeter (MOLA). The profile was obtained during the Mars Global Surveyor Capture Orbit Calibration Pass on September 15, 1997. The profile runs from 73oN to 10oS latitude and passes through the topographically subdued northern plains, the western part of the Elysium volcanic province, which shows 3 miles (5 kilometers) of relief, and the chaotic 'dichotomy' boundary between the northern plains and ancient southern highlands. The MOLA profile is approximately 3000 miles (5000 kilometers) long and has a resolution on the surface of 1000 feet (330 meters) and a vertical resolution of approximately 3 feet (1 meter).

  16. SIMPL Laser Altimeter Measurements of Lake Erie Ice Cover: a Pathfinder for ICESat-2

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Harding, D. J.; Dabney, P.; Valett, S. R.; Kelly, A.

    2010-12-01

    NASA’s ICESat-2 missions, scheduled for launch in 2015, will make measurements of ice sheet elevation change, sea ice thickness change and vegetation height using a micro-pulse, multi-beam laser altimeter employing single photon ranging at 532 nm (green). Lake Erie ice and snow cover data acquired in February 2009 by the Slope Imaging Multi-polarization Photon-counting Lidar (SIMPL) provides pathfinder information enabling improved understanding of this next-generation altimeter measurement approach. SIMPL is an airborne, multi-beam laser altimeter developed through the NASA Earth Science Technology Office Instrument Incubator Program with a focus on cryopshere remote sensing. SIMPL operates at 532 nm and 1064 nm using a micropulse laser, achieving a ranging precision of 8 cm per single photon, and acquires reflected energy parallel and perpendicular to the transmit pulse polarization plane. Approximately 30,000 single photon returns per second are acquired from snow and ice at the nominal flight altitude of 8,000 ft. The resulting two-color information on surface and volume scattering properties enables differentiation of open water and ice types with varying optical properties. For open water, SIMPL data documents laser pulse penetration at 532 nm in the water column, relative to the surface defined by the 1064 nm data. And increasing amount of perpendicularly polarized light with depth relative to the parallel polarization, indicating an increasing fraction of multiply scattered photons, provides a measure of water column optical depth. The observed ice cover types (skim, nias, new grey ice, new grey-white ice) represent the early stages of sea ice formation. Differences in surface roughness and transparency of the ice types are indicated by the 532 nm and 1064 nm perpendicular/parallel depolarization ratio measures of the degree of multiple scattering. The understanding of laser pulse interactions with water, ice and snow using this first-of-its-kind data set

  17. High accuracy alignment facility for the receiver and transmitter of the BepiColombo Laser Altimeter.

    PubMed

    Chakraborty, Sumita; Affolter, Michael; Gunderson, Kurt; Neubert, Jakob; Thomas, Nicolas; Beck, Thomas; Gerber, Michael; Graf, Stefan; Piazza, Daniele; Pommerol, Antoine; Roethlisberger, Guillaume; Seiferlin, Karsten

    2012-07-10

    The accurate co-alignment of the transmitter to the receiver of the BepiColombo Laser Altimeter is a challenging task for which an original alignment concept had to be developed. We present here the design, construction and testing of a large collimator facility built to fulfill the tight alignment requirements. We describe in detail the solution found to attenuate the high energy of the instrument laser transmitter by an original beam splitting pentaprism group. We list the different steps of the calibration of the alignment facility and estimate the errors made at each of these steps. We finally prove that the current facility is ready for the alignment of the flight instrument. Its angular accuracy is 23 μrad. PMID:22781273

  18. Geoscience Laser Altimeter System (GLAS) on the ICESat Mission: Science Measurement Performance since Launch

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Sun, Xiao-Li; Abshire, James B.; Riris, Haris; McGarry, Jan; Sirota, Marcos

    2004-01-01

    The Geoscience Laser Altimeter System is the primary space lidar on NASA's ICESat mission. Since launch in January 2003 GLAS has produced about 544 million measurements of the Earth's surface and atmosphere. It has made global measurements of the Earth's icesheets, land topography and atmosphere with unprecedented vertical resolution and accuracy. GLAS was first activated for science measurements in February 2003. Since then its operation and performance has confirmed many pre-launch expectations and exceed a few of the most optimistic expectations in vertical resolution. However GLAS also suffered an unexpected failure of its first laser, and the GLAS measurements have yielded some surprises in other areas. The talk will give a post launch assessment of the science measurement performance of the GLAS instrument, and compare the science measurements and engineering operation to pre-launch expectations. It also will address some of what has been learned from the GLAS operations and data, which may benefit future space lidar.

  19. ALR - Laser altimeter for the ASTER deep space mission. Simulated operation above a surface with crater

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    de Brum, A. G. V.; da Cruz, F. C.; Hetem, A., Jr.

    2015-10-01

    To assist in the investigation of the triple asteroid system 2001-SN263, the deep space mission ASTER will carry onboard a laser altimeter. The instrument was named ALR and its development is now in progress. In order to help in the instrument design, with a view to the creation of software to control the instrument, a package of computer programs was produced to simulate the operation of a pulsed laser altimeter with operating principle based on the measurement of the time of flight of the travelling pulse. This software Simulator was called ALR_Sim, and the results obtained with its use represent what should be expected as return signal when laser pulses are fired toward a target, reflect on it and return to be detected by the instrument. The program was successfully tested with regard to some of the most common situations expected. It constitutes now the main workbench dedicated to the creation and testing of control software to embark in the ALR. In addition, the Simulator constitutes also an important tool to assist the creation of software to be used on Earth, in the processing and analysis of the data received from the instrument. This work presents the results obtained in the special case which involves the modeling of a surface with crater, along with the simulation of the instrument operation above this type of terrain. This study points out that the comparison of the wave form obtained as return signal after reflection of the laser pulse on the surface of the crater with the expected return signal in the case of a flat and homogeneous surface is a useful method that can be applied for terrain details extraction.

  20. Integration of Chang'E-2 imagery and LRO laser altimeter data with a combined block adjustment for precision lunar topographic modeling

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Wu, Bo; Hu, Han; Guo, Jian

    2014-04-01

    Lunar topographic information is essential for lunar scientific investigations and exploration missions. Lunar orbiter imagery and laser altimeter data are two major data sources for lunar topographic modeling. Most previous studies have processed the imagery and laser altimeter data separately for lunar topographic modeling, and there are usually inconsistencies between the derived lunar topographic models. This paper presents a novel combined block adjustment approach to integrate multiple strips of the Chinese Chang'E-2 imagery and NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) Laser Altimeter (LOLA) data for precision lunar topographic modeling. The participants of the combined block adjustment include the orientation parameters of the Chang'E-2 images, the intra-strip tie points derived from the Chang'E-2 stereo images of the same orbit, the inter-strip tie points derived from the overlapping area of two neighbor Chang'E-2 image strips, and the LOLA points. Two constraints are incorporated into the combined block adjustment including a local surface constraint and an orbit height constraint, which are specifically designed to remedy the large inconsistencies between the Chang'E-2 and LOLA data sets. The output of the combined block adjustment is the improved orientation parameters of the Chang'E-2 images and ground coordinates of the LOLA points, from which precision lunar topographic models can be generated. The performance of the developed approach was evaluated using the Chang'E-2 imagery and LOLA data in the Sinus Iridum area and the Apollo 15 landing area. The experimental results revealed that the mean absolute image residuals between the Chang'E-2 image strips were drastically reduced from tens of pixels before the adjustment to sub-pixel level after adjustment. Digital elevation models (DEMs) with 20 m resolution were generated using the Chang'E-2 imagery after the combined block adjustment. Comparison of the Chang'E-2 DEM with the LOLA DEM showed a good

  1. Laser Ranging to the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter: improved timing and orbits

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Mao, D.; Mcgarry, J.; Sun, X.; Torrence, M. H.; Skillman, D.; Hoffman, E.; Mazarico, E.; Rowlands, D. D.; Golder, J.; Barker, M. K.; Neumann, G. A.; Smith, D. E.; Zuber, M. T.

    2013-12-01

    The Laser ranging (LR) experiment to the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) has been under operation for more than 4 years, since the launch of the spacecraft in June 2009. Led by NASA's Next Generation Satellite Laser Ranging(NGSLR) station at Greenbelt, Maryland, ten laser ranging stations over the world have been participating in the experiment and have collected over 3,200 hours of ranging data. These range measurements are used to monitor the behavior of the LRO clock and to generate orbital solutions for LRO. To achieve high-quality results in range, ground stations like NGSLR are using H-maser clocks to obtain a stable and continuous time baseline for the orbit solutions. An All-View GPS receiver was included at NGSLR since January 2013 which monitors the H-maser time against the master clock at the United State Naval Observatory (USNO) via the GPS satellites. NGSLR has successfully established nano-second level epoch time accuracy and 10-15 clock stability since then. Time transfer experiments using LRO as a common receiver have been verified in ground testing between NGSLR and MOBLAS7 via a ground terminal with a Lunar Orbiter Laser Altimeter (LOLA)-like receiver at Greenbelt, Maryland. Two hour-long ground tests using a LOLA-like detector and two different ground targets yielded results consistent with each other, and those from the previous 10-minute test completed one year ago. Time transfer tests between NGSLR and MOBLAS7 via LRO are ongoing. More time transfer tests are being planned from NGSLR to McDonald Laser Ranging Station (MLRS) in Texas and later from NGSLR to European satellite laser ranging (SLR) stations. Upon the completion of these time transfer experiments, nanosecond-level epoch time accuracy will be brought to stations besides NGSLR, and such high precision of the ground time can contribute to the LRO precision orbit determination (POD) process. Presently, by using the high-resolution GRAIL gravity models, the LRO orbits determined from

  2. The Slope Imaging Multi-polarization Photon-counting Lidar: an Advanced Technology Airborne Laser Altimeter

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Dabney, P.; Harding, D. J.; Huss, T.; Valett, S.; Yu, A. W.; Zheng, Y.

    2009-12-01

    The Slope Imaging Multi-polarization Photon-counting Lidar (SIMPL) is an airborne laser altimeter developed through the NASA Earth Science Technology Office Instrument Incubator Program with a focus on cryopshere remote sensing. The SIMPL instrument incorporates a variety of advanced technologies in order to demonstrate measurement approaches of potential benefit for improved airborne laser swath mapping and spaceflight laser altimeter missions. SIMPL incorporates beam splitting, single-photon ranging and polarimetry technologies at green and near-infrared wavelengths in order to achieve simultaneous sampling of surface elevation, slope, roughness and scattering properties, the latter used to differentiate surface types. The transmitter is a 1 nsec pulse width, 11 kHz, 1064 nm microchip laser, frequency doubled to 532 nm and split into four plane-polarized beams using birefringent calcite crystal in order to maintain co-alignment of the two colors. The 16 channel receiver splits the received energy for each beam into the two colors and each color is split into energy parallel and perpendicular to the transmit polarization plane thereby proving a measure of backscatter depolarization. The depolarization ratio is sensitive to the proportions of specular reflection and surface and volume scattering, and is a function of wavelength. The ratio can differentiate, for example, water, young translucent ice, older granular ice and snow. The solar background count rate is controlled by spatial filtering using a pinhole array and by spectral filtering using temperature-controlled narrow bandwidth filters. The receiver is fiber coupled to 16 Single Photon Counting Modules (SPCMs). To avoid range biases due to the long dead time of these detectors the probability of detection per laser fire on each channel is controlled to be below 30%, using mechanical irises and flight altitude. Event timers with 0.1 nsec resolution in combination the narrow transmit pulse yields single

  3. Status of the Precision Orbit Determination solutions for the most recent altimeter missions: focusing on the long-term stability for the analysis of Mean Sea Level trends

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Couhert, Alexandre; Cerri, Luca

    2012-07-01

    The reference Ocean Surface Topography Mission/Jason-2 satellite (CNES/NASA) has been in orbit for four years (since June 2008). It extends the continuous record of highly accurate sea surface height measurements begun in 1992 by the Topex/Poseidon mission and continued in 2001 by the Jason-1 mission. The complementary missions CryoSat-2 (ESA) and HY-2A (CNSA), with lower altitudes and higher inclinations, were launched in April 2010 and August 2011, respectively. Although the two last satellites fly in different orbits, they contribute to the altimeter constellation while enhancing the global coverage. The CNES Precision Orbit Determination (POD) Group delivers precise and homogeneous orbit solutions for these independent altimeter missions. This talk will address the issues related to the long-term stability of the orbit solutions; in particular, it focuses on the impact of the time-varying gravity field on the geographically correlated errors that are of interest for the altimeter analyst and on the recent modeling improvements that allow to deliver consistent orbit solutions across different missions. We will also give an overview of the performance of the tracking systems, and address some issues (like the use of a geocenter model on DORIS-SLR coordinates) concerning the prospects for improvements in modeling of the tracking data that would allow to improve the accuracy of the POD solutions in the long run.

  4. Spectral characteristics of time-dependent orbit errors in altimeter height measurements

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Chelton, Dudley B.; Schlax, Michael G.

    1993-01-01

    A mean reference surface and time-dependent orbit errors are estimated simultaneously for each exact-repeat ground track from the first two years of Geosat sea level estimates based on the Goddard Earth model (GEM)-T2 orbits. Motivated by orbit theory and empirical analysis of Geosat data, the time-dependent orbit errors are modeled as 1 cycle per revolution (cpr) sinusoids with slowly varying amplitude and phase. The method recovers the known 'bow tie effect' introduced by the existence of force model errors within the precision orbit determination (POD) procedure used to generate the GEM-T2 orbits. The bow tie pattern of 1-cpr orbit errors is characterized by small amplitudes near the middle and larger amplitudes (up to 160 cm in the 2 yr of data considered here) near the ends of each 5- to 6-day orbit arc over which the POD force model is integrated. A detailed examination of these bow tie patterns reveals the existence of daily modulations of the amplitudes of the 1-cpr sinusoid orbit errors with typical and maximum peak-to-peak ranges of about 14 cm and 30 cm, respectively. The method also identifies a daily variation in the mean orbit error with typical and maximum peak-to-peak ranges of about 6 and 30 cm, respectively, that is unrelated to the predominant 1-cpr orbit error. Application of the simultaneous solution method to the much less accurate Geosat height estimates based on the Naval Astronautics Group orbits concludes that the accuracy of POD is not important for collinear altimetric studies of time-dependent mesoscale variability (wavelengths shorter than 1000 km), as long as the time-dependent orbit errors are dominated by 1-cpr variability and a long-arc (several orbital periods) orbit error estimation scheme such as that presented here is used.

  5. System Accommodation of Propylene Loop Heat Pipes For The Geoscience Laser Altimeter System (GLAS) Instrument

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Grob, Eric W.; Powers, Edward I. (Technical Monitor)

    2001-01-01

    Loop Heat Pipes (LHP) are used for precise temperature control for NASA Goddard Space Flight Center's Geoscience Laser Altimeter System (GLAS) Instrument in a widely varying LEO thermal environment. Two propylene LHPs are utilized to provide separate thermal control for the Nd:YAG Lasers and the remaining avionics/detector components suite. Despite a rigorous engineering development and test plan to demonstrate the performance in the restrictive GLAS design, the flight units failed initial thermal vacuum acceptance testing at GSFC. Subsequent investigation revealed that compromises in the mechanical packaging of these systems resulted in inadequate charge levels for a concentric wick LHP. The redesign effort included larger compensation chambers that provide more fluid to the wick for start-up scenarios and highlighted the need to fully understand the limitations and accommodation requirements of new technologies in a system design application. Once again, seemingly minor departures from heritage configurations and limited resources led to performance and operational issues. This paper provides details into the GLAS LHP engineering development program and acceptance testing of the flight units, including the redesign effort.

  6. Airborne Polarimetric, Two-Color Laser Altimeter Measurements of Lake Ice Cover: A Pathfinder for NASA's ICESat-2 Spaceflight Mission

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Harding, David; Dabney, Philip; Valett, Susan; Yu, Anthony; Vasilyev, Aleksey; Kelly, April

    2011-01-01

    The ICESat-2 mission will continue NASA's spaceflight laser altimeter measurements of ice sheets, sea ice and vegetation using a new measurement approach: micropulse, single photon ranging at 532 nm. Differential penetration of green laser energy into snow, ice and water could introduce errors in sea ice freeboard determination used for estimation of ice thickness. Laser pulse scattering from these surface types, and resulting range biasing due to pulse broadening, is assessed using SIMPL airborne data acquired over icecovered Lake Erie. SIMPL acquires polarimetric lidar measurements at 1064 and 532 nm using the micropulse, single photon ranging measurement approach.

  7. Two-color, Polarimetric Laser Altimeter Measurements of Forest Canopy Structure and Composition

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Dabney, P.; Yu, A. W.; Harding, D. J.; Valett, S. R.; Hicks, E.; Shuman, C. A.; Vasilyev, A. A.

    2010-12-01

    Over the past decade lidar remote sensing has proven to be a highly effective method for characterization of forest canopy structure and estimation of biomass stocks. However, traditional measurements only provide information on the vertical distribution of surfaces without ability to differentiate surface types. Also, an unresolved aspect of traditional measurements is the contribution of within-canopy multiple scattering to the lidar profiles of canopy structure. Slope Imaging Multi-polarization Photon-counting Lidar (SIMPL) data was acquired in July and August, 2010 for three sites with well-characterized forest structure in order to address these issues. SIMPL is an airborne, four-beam laser altimeter developed through the NASA Earth Science Technology Office Instrument Incubator Program. It acquires single-photon laser ranging data at 532 and 1064 nm, recording range-resolved measurements of reflected energy parallel and perpendicular to the transmit pulse polarization plane. Prior work with a non-ranging, multi-wavelength laser polarimetry demonstrated differentiation of tree species types based on depolarization differences related to surface and volume multiple scattering at the leaf scale. By adding the ranging component, SIMPL provides a means to investigate the vertical and horizontal distribution of optical scattering properties to better understand the interaction of pulsed laser energy with the foliage, stem and branch components of forest canopies. Data were acquired for the deciduous forest cover at the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center in Maryland and mixed deciduous and pine cover in the New Jersey Pine Barrens, two sites being used by the ICESat-2 project to assess micropulse, single-photon measurements of forest canopies. A third site, in the Huron National Forest in Michigan, has had diverse forest silviculture management practices applied to pine stands. The contrasts in forest stands between these sites will be used to illustrate

  8. The use of laser altimetry data in Chang'E-1 precision orbit determination

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Chang, Sheng-Qi; Huang, Yong; Li, Pei-Jia; Hu, Xiao-Gong; Fan, Min

    2016-09-01

    Accurate altimetric measurement not only can be applied to the calculation of a topography model but also can be used to improve the quality of the orbit reconstruction in the form of crossovers. Altimetry data from the Chang'E-1 (CE-1) laser altimeter are analyzed in this paper. The differences between the crossover constraint equation in the form of height discrepancies and in the form of minimum distances are mainly discussed. The results demonstrate that the crossover constraint equation in the form of minimum distances improves the CE-1 orbit precision. The overlap orbit performance has increased ∼ 30% compared to the orbit using only tracking data. External assessment using the topography model also shows orbit improvement. The results will be helpful for recomputing ephemeris and improving the CE-1 topography model.

  9. Improve the ZY-3 Height Accuracy Using Icesat/glas Laser Altimeter Data

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Li, Guoyuan; Tang, Xinming; Gao, Xiaoming; Zhang, Chongyang; Li, Tao

    2016-06-01

    ZY-3 is the first civilian high resolution stereo mapping satellite, which has been launched on 9th, Jan, 2012. The aim of ZY-3 satellite is to obtain high resolution stereo images and support the 1:50000 scale national surveying and mapping. Although ZY-3 has very high accuracy for direct geo-locations without GCPs (Ground Control Points), use of some GCPs is still indispensible for high precise stereo mapping. The GLAS (Geo-science Laser Altimetry System) loaded on the ICESat (Ice Cloud and land Elevation Satellite), which is the first laser altimetry satellite for earth observation. GLAS has played an important role in the monitoring of polar ice sheets, the measuring of land topography and vegetation canopy heights after launched in 2003. Although GLAS has ended in 2009, the derived elevation dataset still can be used after selection by some criteria. In this paper, the ICESat/GLAS laser altimeter data is used as height reference data to improve the ZY-3 height accuracy. A selection method is proposed to obtain high precision GLAS elevation data. Two strategies to improve the ZY-3 height accuracy are introduced. One is the conventional bundle adjustment based on RFM and bias-compensated model, in which the GLAS footprint data is viewed as height control. The second is to correct the DSM (Digital Surface Model) straightly by simple block adjustment, and the DSM is derived from the ZY-3 stereo imaging after freedom adjustment and dense image matching. The experimental result demonstrates that the height accuracy of ZY-3 without other GCPs can be improved to 3.0 meter after adding GLAS elevation data. What's more, the comparison of the accuracy and efficiency between the two strategies is implemented for application.

  10. Topographic roughness of the northern high latitudes of Mercury from MESSENGER Laser Altimeter data

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Fa, Wenzhe; Cai, Yuzhen; Xiao, Zhiyong; Tian, Wei

    2016-04-01

    We investigated topographic roughness for the northern hemisphere (>45°N) of Mercury using high-resolution topography data acquired by the Mercury Laser Altimeter (MLA) on board the MErcury Surface, Space ENvironment, GEochemistry, and Ranging (MESSENGER) spacecraft. Our results show that there are distinct differences in the bidirectional slope and root-mean-square (RMS) height among smooth plains (SP), intercrater plains (ICP), and heavily cratered terrain (HCT), and that the ratios of the bidirectional slope and RMS height among the three geologic units are both about 1:2:2.4. Most of Mercury's surface exhibits fractal-like behavior on the basis of the linearity in the deviograms, with median Hurst exponents of 0.66, 0.80, and 0.81 for SP, ICP, and HCT, respectively. The median differential slope map shows that smooth plains are smooth at kilometer scale and become rough at hectometer scale, but they are always rougher than lunar maria at the scales studied. In contrast, intercrater plains and heavily cratered terrain are rough at kilometer scale and smooth at hectometer scale, and they are rougher than lunar highlands at scale <˜2 km but smoother at >˜2 km. We suggest that these scale-dependent roughness characteristics are mainly caused by the difference in density and shape of impact craters between Mercury and the Moon.

  11. ICESat-2: the next generation laser altimeter mission for polar research

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Neumann, Thomas; Markus, Thorsten; Martino, Anthony

    2015-04-01

    NASA's Ice, Cloud, and land Elevation Satellite-2 (ICESat-2) mission objectives are to quantify polar ice sheet contributions to sea level change, quantify regional signatures of ice sheet changes to assess driving mechanisms, estimate sea ice thickness, and to enable measurements of global canopy height as a basis for estimating large-scale biomass. Its predecessor ICESat, which operated from 2003 to 2009, pioneered the use of laser altimeters in space to study the elevation of the Earth's surface and its changes. Among other contributions to the cryospheric sciences, ICESat proved adept at making centimeter-level elevation measurements over both ice sheets and sea ice. Since ICESat stopped collecting data in October 2009, the IceBridge and CryoSat-2 missions continue these important observations. The well-documented and ongoing dramatic and rapid changes in the Earth's ice cover have strengthened the need for sustained observations beyond what CryoSat-2 and IceBridge are expected to provide. Lessons learned from ICESat demonstrated the need for cross-track slope information over the ice sheets (realized through ICESat-2's multiple beams), a smaller footprint size, and gapless along-track data collection. These needs resulted in a different measurement concept for ICESat-2. The presentation will provide a brief summary of the measurement concept, the status of hardware development (instrument Integration and Testing has started in May 2014), and progress on geophysical algorithm development.

  12. Global Lidar Measurements of Clouds and Aerosols from Space Using the Geoscience Laser Altimeter System (GLAS)

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Hlavka, Dennis L.; Palm, S. P.; Welton, E. J.; Hart, W. D.; Spinhirne, J. D.; McGill, M.; Mahesh, A.; Starr, David OC. (Technical Monitor)

    2001-01-01

    The Geoscience Laser Altimeter System (GLAS) is scheduled for launch on the ICESat satellite as part of the NASA EOS mission in 2002. GLAS will be used to perform high resolution surface altimetry and will also provide a continuously operating atmospheric lidar to profile clouds, aerosols, and the planetary boundary layer with horizontal and vertical resolution of 175 and 76.8 m, respectively. GLAS is the first active satellite atmospheric profiler to provide global coverage. Data products include direct measurements of the heights of aerosol and cloud layers, and the optical depth of transmissive layers. In this poster we provide an overview of the GLAS atmospheric data products, present a simulated GLAS data set, and show results from the simulated data set using the GLAS data processing algorithm. Optical results from the ER-2 Cloud Physics Lidar (CPL), which uses many of the same processing algorithms as GLAS, show algorithm performance with real atmospheric conditions during the Southern African Regional Science Initiative (SAFARI 2000).

  13. Testing of the Geoscience Laser Altimeter System (GLAS) Prototype Loop Heat Pipe

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Douglas, Donya; Ku, Jentung; Kaya, Tarik

    1998-01-01

    This paper describes the testing of the prototype loop heat pipe (LHP) for the Geoscience Laser Altimeter System (GLAS). The primary objective of the test program was to verify the loop's heat transport and temperature control capabilities under conditions pertinent to GLAS applications. Specifically, the LHP had to demonstrate a heat transport capability of 100 W, with the operating temperature maintained within +/-2K while the condenser sink was subjected to a temperature change between 273K and 283K. Test results showed that this loop heat pipe was more than capable of transporting the required heat load and that the operating temperature could be maintained within +/-2K. However, this particular integrated evaporator-compensation chamber design resulted in an exchange of energy between the two that affected the overall operation of the system. One effect was the high temperature the LHP was required to reach before nucleation would begin due to inability to control liquid distribution during ground testing. Another effect was that the loop had a low power start-up limitation of approximately 25 W. These Issues may be a concern for other applications, although it is not expected that they will cause problems for GLAS under micro-gravity conditions.

  14. Atmospheric and Surface Reflectance Measurements by the Geoscience Laser Altimeter System

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Spinhirne, James D.; Palm, Steven P.; Hlavka, Dennis L.; Hart, William D.; Mehesh, Ashwin; Welton, Ellsworth J.

    2004-01-01

    The Geoscience Laser Altimeter System launched in early 2003 is the first satellite instrument IC space to globally observe the distribution of clouds and aerosol through laser remote sensing. The instrument is a basic backscatter lidar that operates at two wavelengths, 532 and 1064 nm. The mission data products for atmospheric observations include the calibrated, observed, attenuated backscatter cross section for cloud and aerosol; height detection for multiple cloud layers; planetary boundary layer height; cirrus and aerosol optical depth and the height distribution of aerosol and cloud scattering cross section profiles. The data will enhance knowledge in several areas of atmospheric science: the distribution, transport and influence of atmospheric aerosol, significantly more accurate measurements of the coverage and height of cirrus and other clouds, polar cloud climatology and radiation influence, the dynamics planetary boundary layer and others. An overview and summary of initial results are presented. Initial results from the first months of operation show the detailed height structure of clouds and aerosol on a global basis as expected. The 532 nm channel was expected to be the more sensitive and primary channel for aerosol measurements, but extensive aerosol loading in many regions are observed by the 1064 nm channel. Sensitivities are down to a few times l0(exp 6) l/(m-sr), much better than originally expected. The 532 channel adds an order of magnitude addition sensitivity. Initial comparisons to aerosol models have been done. Similarly for global cloud cover, good results are obtained just from the 1064 nm channel and from both channels, a measurement of multiple layers and cloud overlap has been made. Antarctica observations show high levels of total cloud cover including unique low-level cirrus and blowing snow. Data products have been generated for cloud, aerosol and PBL presence and heights in addition to the basic scattering cross section profiles.

  15. Geoscience Laser Altimeter System (GLAS) Final Test Report of DM LHP TV Testing

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Baker, Charles

    2000-01-01

    Two loop heat pipes (LHPs) are to be used for thermal control of the Geoscience Laser Altimeter System (GLAS), planned for flight in 2001. One LHP will be used to transport 100 W from a laser to the radiator, the other will transport 210 W from electronic boxes to the radiator. In order to verify the LHP design for the GLAS application, an LHP Development Model has been fabricated, and ambient and thermal vacuum tested. Two aluminum blocks of 15 kg and 30 kg, respectively, were attached to the LHP to simulate the thermal masses connected to the heat sources. A 20 W starter heater was installed on the evaporator to aid the loop startup. A new concept to thermally couple the vapor and liquid line was also incorporated in the LHP design. Such a thermal coupling would reduce the power requirement on the compensation chamber in order to maintain the loop set point temperature. To avoid freezing of the liquid in the condenser during cold cases, propylene was selected as the working fluid. The LHP was tested under reflux mode and with adverse elevation. Tests conducted included start-up, power cycle, steady state and transient operation during hot and cold cases, and heater power requirements for the set point temperature control of the LHP. Test results showed very successful operation of the LHP under all conditions. The 20 W starter heater proved necessary in order to start the loop when a large thermal mass was attached to the evaporator. The thermal coupling between the liquid line and the vapor line significantly reduced the heater power required for loop temperature control, which was less than 5 watts in all cases, including a cold radiator. The test also demonstrated successful operation with a propylene working fluid, with successful startups with condenser temperatures as low as 100 C. Furthermore, the test demonstrated accurate control of the loop operating temperature within +/- 0.2 C, and a successful shutdown of the loop during the survival mode of

  16. Geoscience Laser Altimeter System (GLAS) Instrument: Flight Loop Heat Pipe (LHP) Acceptance Thermal Vacuum Test

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Baker, Charles; Butler, Dan; Ku, Jentung; Grob, Eric; Swanson, Ted; Nikitkin, Michael; Powers, Edward I. (Technical Monitor)

    2001-01-01

    Two loop heat pipes (LHPs) are to be used for tight thermal control of the Geoscience Laser Altimeter System (GLAS) instrument, planned for flight in late 2001. The LHPs are charged with Propylene as a working fluid. One LHP will be used to transport 110 W from a laser to a radiator, the other will transport 160 W from electronic boxes to a separate radiator. The application includes a large amount of thermal mass in each LHP system and low initial startup powers. The initial design had some non-ideal flight design compromises, resulted in a less than ideal charge level for this design concept with a symmetrical secondary wick. This less than ideal charge was identified as the source of inadequate performance of the flight LHPs during the flight thermal vacuum test in October of 2000. We modified the compensation chamber design, re-built and charged the LHPs for a final LHP acceptance thermal vacuum test. This test performed March of 2001 was 100% successful. This is the last testing to be performed on the LHPs prior to instrument thermal vacuum test. This sensitivity to charge level was shown through varying the charge on a Development Model Loop Heat Pipe (DM LHP) and evaluating performance at various fill levels. At lower fills similar to the original charge in the flight units, the same poor performance was observed. When the flight units were re-designed and filled to the levels similar to the initial successful DM LHP test, the flight units also successfully fulfilled all requirements. This final flight Acceptance test assessed performance with respect to startup, low power operation, conductance, and control heater power, and steady state control. The results of the testing showed that both LHPs operated within specification. Startup on one of the LHPs was better than the other LHP because of the starter heater placement and a difference in evaporator design. These differences resulted in a variation in the achieved superheat prior to startup. The LHP with

  17. Laser propulsion for orbit transfer - Laser technology issues

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Horvath, J. C.; Frisbee, R. H.

    1985-01-01

    Using reasonable near-term mission traffic models (1991-2000 being the assumed operational time of the system) and the most current unclassified laser and laser thruster information available, it was found that space-based laser propulsion orbit transfer vehicles (OTVs) can outperform the aerobraked chemical OTV over a 10-year life-cycle. The conservative traffic models used resulted in an optimum laser power of about 1 MW per laser. This is significantly lower than the power levels considered in other studies. Trip time was taken into account only to the extent that the system was sized to accomplish the mission schedule.

  18. Mid-Infrared Laser Orbital Septal Tightening

    PubMed Central

    Chu, Eugene A.; Li, Michael; Lazarow, Frances B.; Wong, Brian J. F.

    2014-01-01

    IMPORTANCE Blepharoplasty is one of the most commonly performed facial aesthetic surgeries. While myriad techniques exist to improve the appearance of the lower eyelids, there is no clear consensus on the optimal management of the orbital septum. OBJECTIVES To evaluate the safety and feasibility of the use of the holmium:yttrium aluminum garnet (Ho:YAG) laser for orbital septal tightening, and to determine whether modest use of this laser would provide some degree of clinical efficacy. DESIGN, SETTING, AND PARTICIPANTS Direct laser irradiation of ex vivo bovine tissue was used to determine appropriate laser dosimetry using infrared thermal imaging and optical coherence tomography before conducting a pilot clinical study in 5 patients. Laser irradiation of the lower eyelid orbital septum was performed through a transconjunctival approach. Standardized preoperative and postoperative photographs were taken for each patient and evaluated by 6 unbiased aesthetic surgeons. EXPOSURE Use of the Ho:YAG laser for orbital septal tightening. MAIN OUTCOME AND MEASURE To determine appropriate laser dosimetry, infrared thermal imaging and optical coherence tomography were used to monitor temperature and tissue shape changes of ex vivo bovine tissue that was subjected to direct laser irradiation. For the clinical study, preoperative and postoperative photographs were evaluated by 6 surgeons on a 10-point Likert scale. RESULTS Optical coherence tomography demonstrated that laser irradiation of bovine tissue to a temperature range of 60°C to 80°C resulted in an increase in thickness of up to 2-fold. There were no complications or adverse cosmetic outcomes in the patient study. Patient satisfaction with the results of surgery averaged 7 on a 10-point Likert scale. For 3 patients, 3 (50%) of the evaluators believed there was a mild improvement in appearance of the lower eyelids after surgery. The remaining patients were thought to have no significant changes. CONCLUSIONS AND

  19. Seasat altimeter calibration: initial results.

    PubMed

    Tapley, B D; Born, G H; Hagar, H H; Lorell, J; Parke, M E; Diamante, J M; Douglas, B C; Goad, C C; Kolenkiewicz, R; Marsh, J G; Martin, C F; Smith, S L; Townsend, W F; Whitehead, J A; Byrne, H M; Fedor, L S; Hammond, D C; Mognard, N M

    1979-06-29

    Preliminary analysis of radar altimeter data indicates that the instrument has met its specifications for measuring spacecraft height above the ocean surface (+/- 10 centimeters) and significant wave height (+/- 0.5 meter). There is ample evidence that the radar altimeter, having undergone development through three earth orbit missions [Skylab, Geodynamics Experimental Ocean Satellite 3 (GEOS-3), and Seasat], has reached a level of precision that now makes possible its use for important quantitative oceanographic investigations and practical applications. PMID:17814198

  20. The Algorithm Theoretical Basis Document for the Atmospheric Delay Correction to GLAS Laser Altimeter Ranges. Volume 8

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Herring, Thomas A.; Quinn, Katherine J.

    2012-01-01

    NASA s Ice, Cloud, and Land Elevation Satellite (ICESat) mission will be launched late 2001. It s primary instrument is the Geoscience Laser Altimeter System (GLAS) instrument. The main purpose of this instrument is to measure elevation changes of the Greenland and Antarctic icesheets. To accurately measure the ranges it is necessary to correct for the atmospheric delay of the laser pulses. The atmospheric delay depends on the integral of the refractive index along the path that the laser pulse travels through the atmosphere. The refractive index of air at optical wavelengths is a function of density and molecular composition. For ray paths near zenith and closed form equations for the refractivity, the atmospheric delay can be shown to be directly related to surface pressure and total column precipitable water vapor. For ray paths off zenith a mapping function relates the delay to the zenith delay. The closed form equations for refractivity recommended by the International Union of Geodesy and Geophysics (IUGG) are optimized for ground based geodesy techniques and in the next section we will consider whether these equations are suitable for satellite laser altimetry.

  1. NASA's Operation Icebridge: Using Instrumented Aircraft to Bridge the Observational Gap Between Icesat and Icesat-2 Laser Altimeter Measurements

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Studinger, M.

    2014-12-01

    NASA's Operation IceBridge images Earth's polar ice in unprecedented detail to better understand processes that connect the polar regions with the global climate system. Operation IceBridge utilizes a highly specialized fleet of research aircraft and the most sophisticated suite of innovative science instruments ever assembled to characterize annual changes in thickness of sea ice, glaciers, and ice sheets. In addition, Operation IceBridge collects critical data used to predict the response of Earth's polar ice to climate change and resulting sea-level rise. IceBridge also helps bridge the gap in polar observations between NASA's ICESat satellite missions. Combined with previous aircraft observations, as well as ICESat, CryoSat-2 and the forthcoming ICESat-2 observations, Operation IceBridge will produce a cross-calibrated 17-year time series of ice sheet and sea-ice elevation data over Antarctica, as well as a 27-year time series over Greenland. These time series will be a critical resource for predictive models of sea ice and ice sheet behavior. In addition to laser altimetry, Operation IceBridge is using a comprehensive suite of instruments to produce a three-dimensional view of the Arctic and Antarctic ice sheets, ice shelves and the sea ice. The suite includes two NASA laser altimeters, the Airborne Topographic Mapper (ATM) and the Land, Vegetation and Ice Sensor (LVIS); four radar systems from the University of Kansas' Center for Remote Sensing of Ice Sheets (CReSIS), a Ku-band radar altimeter, accumulation radar, snow radar and the Multichannel Coherent Radar Depth Sounder (MCoRDS); a Sander Geophysics airborne gravimeter (AIRGrav), a magnetometer and a high-resolution stereographic camera (DMS). Since its start in 2009, Operation IceBridge has deployed 8 geophysical survey aircraft and 19 science instruments. All IceBridge data is freely available from NSIDC (http://nsidc.org/data/icebridge) 6 months after completion of a campaign.

  2. Combining multiple altimeter missions

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Jacobs, G. A.; Mitchell, J. L.

    1997-10-01

    Viewing altimeter data only at the points where separate altimeter missions' ground tracks cross provides a method to observe long time period sea surface height (SSH) variations and avoids many of the problems inherent in combining separate altimeter data sets through an independently determined geoid. TOPEX/POSEIDON (T/P) data over the time period from January 1, 1993, to December 31, 1995, form a mean SSH that is used as a reference by other altimeter data sets. A least squares analysis of the mean T/P SSH determines the portion of the Geographically Correlated Orbit Error (GCOE) that may be observed through crossover differences and removes this portion of the GCOE. The analysis removes errors of 0.86 cm RMS at 1 cycle per orbit revolution (cpr) and indicates negligible errors at higher frequencies. After the GCOE removal, the accuracy of the T/P reference mean is better than 1 cm RMS as measured by crossover differences. The GCOE contained in the Geosat-Exact Repeat Mission (ERM) and ERS 1 data with orbit solutions using the Joint Gravity Model (JGM) 3 is evaluated through an adjustment to the T/P reference mean surface. The Geosat-ERM data indicate a bias of about 28 cm averaged over the globe, and the ERS 1 bias is 44 cm. The T/P data used here is not corrected for the oscillator drift correction error so that the actual bias is less by about 13 cm. Both the Geosat-ERM and ERS 1 GCOE are mainly 1 cpr. GCOE estimates at frequencies above 1 cpr indicate little actual orbit error but are more correlated to instrument correction errors (particularly water vapor). Simultaneous T/P and ERS 1 SSH anomalies to the T/P mean indicate good correlation.

  3. Laser propulsion for the orbital transfer mission

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Frisbee, R. H.; Horvath, J. C.; Sercel, J. C.

    1985-01-01

    America's space activities in the 1990s and beyond will partly consist of missions involving the transportation of cargo from low earth orbit (LEO) to higher orbits or to an escape trajectory. Such missions are to be performed with the aid of an orbit transfer vehicle (OTV). The operation of the OTV can be based on different propulsion concepts. A chemical OTV is characterized by a high thrust and low specific impulse. The result is a short trip time at the cost of large quantities of propellant. On the other hand, low-thrust systems such as electric propulsion units, consume very little propellant, but would have a long trip time. The present paper is concerned with a compromise between these two extremes. The employed propulsion system utilizes laser thermal propulsion, in which a ground or space-based laser is used to beam energy to a thruster on the OTV. The laser light is absorbed by a propellant. The resulting heating of the propellant causes an expansion of the propellant through a nozzle to produce thrust. Details regarding this propulsion concept are discussed, taking into account operational questions and missions.

  4. A High-altitude, Advanced-technology Scanning Laser Altimeter for the Elevation for the Nation Program

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Harding, D. J.

    2007-12-01

    In January of this year the National Research Council's Committee on Floodplain Mapping Technologies recommended to Congress that an Elevation for the Nation program be initiated to enable modernization of the nation's floodplain maps and to support the many other nationwide programs reliant on high-accuracy elevation data. Their recommendation is to acquire a national, high-resolution, seamless, consistent, public-domain, elevation data set created using airborne laser swath mapping (ALSM). Although existing commercial ALSM assets can acquire elevation data of sufficient accuracy, achieving nationwide consistency in a cost-effective manner will be a challenge employing multiple low-flying commercial systems conducting local to regional mapping. This will be particularly true in vegetated terrain where reproducible measurements of ground topography and vegetation structure are required for change-detection purposes. An alternative approach using an advanced technology, wide-swath, high-altitude laser altimeter is described here, based on the Swath Imaging Multi-polarization Photon-counting Lidar (SIMPL) under development via funding from NASA's Instrument Incubator Program. The approach envisions a commercial, federal agency and state partnership, with the USGS providing program coordination, NASA implementing the advanced technology instrumentation, the commercial sector conducting data collection and processing and states defining map product requirements meeting their specific needs. An Instrument Synthesis and Analysis (ISAL) study conducted at Goddard Space Flight Center evaluated an instrument compliment deployed on a long-range Gulfstream G550 platform operating at 12 km altitude. The English Electric Canberra is an alternative platform also under consideration. Instrumentation includes a scanning, multi-beam laser altimeter that maps a 10 km wide swath, IMU and Star Trackers for attitude determination, JPL's Global Differential GPS implementation for

  5. Orbital simulations of laser-propelled spacecraft

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Zhang, Qicheng; Lubin, Philip M.; Hughes, Gary B.; Melis, Carl; Walsh, Kevin J.

    2015-09-01

    Spacecraft accelerate by directing propellant in the opposite direction. In the traditional approach, the propellant is carried on board in the form of material fuel. This approach has the drawback of being limited in Delta v by the amount of fuel launched with the craft, a limit that does not scale well to high Delta v due to the massive nature of the fuel. Directed energy photon propulsion solves this problem by eliminating the need for on-board fuel storage. We discuss our system which uses a phased array of lasers to propel the spacecraft which contributes no mass to the spacecraft beyond that of the reflector, enabling a prolonged acceleration and much higher final speeds. This paper compares the effectiveness of such a system for propelling spacecraft into interplanetary and interstellar space across various laser and sail configurations. Simulated parameters include laser power, optics size and orbit as well as payload mass, reflector size and the trajectory of the spacecraft. As one example, a 70 GW laser with 10 km optics could propel a 1 kg craft past Neptune (~30 au) in 5 days at 4% the speed of light, or a 1 g "wafer-sat" past Mars (~0.5 au) in 20 minutes at 21% the speed of light. However, even lasers down to 2 kW power and 1 m optics show noticeable effect on gram-class payloads, boosting their altitude in low Earth orbits by several kilometers per day which is already sufficient to be of practical use.

  6. Retrievals of Thick Cloud Optical Depth from the Geoscience Laser Altimeter System (GLAS) by Calibration of Solar Background Signal

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Yang, Yuekui; Marshak, Alexander; Chiu, J. Christine; Wiscombe, Warren J.; Palm, Stephen P.; Davis, Anthony B.; Spangenberg, Douglas A.; Nguyen, Louis; Spinhirne, James D.; Minnis, Patrick

    2008-01-01

    Laser beams emitted from the Geoscience Laser Altimeter System (GLAS), as well as other space-borne laser instruments, can only penetrate clouds to a limit of a few optical depths. As a result, only optical depths of thinner clouds (< about 3 for GLAS) are retrieved from the reflected lidar signal. This paper presents a comprehensive study of possible retrievals of optical depth of thick clouds using solar background light and treating GLAS as a solar radiometer. To do so we first calibrate the reflected solar radiation received by the photon-counting detectors of GLAS' 532 nm channel, which is the primary channel for atmospheric products. The solar background radiation is regarded as a noise to be subtracted in the retrieval process of the lidar products. However, once calibrated, it becomes a signal that can be used in studying the properties of optically thick clouds. In this paper, three calibration methods are presented: (I) calibration with coincident airborne and GLAS observations; (2) calibration with coincident Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite (GOES) and GLAS observations of deep convective clouds; (3) calibration from the first principles using optical depth of thin water clouds over ocean retrieved by GLAS active remote sensing. Results from the three methods agree well with each other. Cloud optical depth (COD) is retrieved from the calibrated solar background signal using a one-channel retrieval. Comparison with COD retrieved from GOES during GLAS overpasses shows that the average difference between the two retrievals is 24%. As an example, the COD values retrieved from GLAS solar background are illustrated for a marine stratocumulus cloud field that is too thick to be penetrated by the GLAS laser. Based on this study, optical depths for thick clouds will be provided as a supplementary product to the existing operational GLAS cloud products in future GLAS data releases.

  7. Recent Data Campaigns and Results from the Laser Vegetation Imaging Sensor (LVIS): An Airborne, Medium-Footprint, Full-Waveform, Swath Mapping Laser Altimeter System

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Blair, J. B.; Hofton, M. A.; Rabine, D. L.; Luthcke, S. B.; Greim, H.

    2005-12-01

    The Laser Vegetation Imaging Sensor (LVIS) is an airborne, medium-sized footprint laser altimeter system. By digitally recording the shape of the returning laser pulse (waveform), LVIS provides a precise and accurate view of the vertical structure within each footprint/pixel including both the sub-canopy and canopy-top topography. Applications of LVIS data include biomass estimation for a wide variety of forest types, ground surface change detection for tectonic studies, mapping sea surface topography to assist in coastal hazard assessment, and hydrology studies utilizing sub-canopy topography in densely forested regions. Since 1998, LVIS data have been collected in various areas of New Hampshire, Maine, Massachusetts, California, Maryland, Panama and Costa Rica. The data calibration and geolocation processing system utilizes a formal Bayesian least-squares-estimation of pointing, ranging and timing parameters based on a batch reduction of altimeter range residuals. Data are released publicly on the LVIS website at http://lvis.gsfc.nasa.gov. Results show data precisions of <50 cm are routinely achieved in all forest types and <5 cm in bare ground conditions. Because of its unique capability to simultaneously map vegetation and sub-canopy ground topography, LVIS data can be used to assess the accuracy of other remote sensing systems. For example, ground and canopy top elevations generated by LVIS were used to assess the accuracy of Shuttle Radar Topography Mission (SRTM) elevations at study sites with different levels of relief and land cover type. Results showed that the mean vertical offset between the SRTM elevations and LVIS ground elevations varied with landcover type and study site location. Comparisons between LVIS and ICESat will also be presented.

  8. Evaluation of GEOSAT Follow-On Precise Orbit Ephemeris

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Lemoine, Frank G.

    2002-01-01

    The GEOSAT Follow-On spacecraft (GFO-l), launched in 1998, began continuous radar altimeter coverage of the oceans in 2000, and after an extensive series of calibration campaigns in 1999 and 2000 was finally accepted by the US Navy on November 29, 2000. By providing high quality altimeter data, GFO can supplement TOPEX/POSEIDON(T/P), ERS-1, and ERS-2 data, providing a different synoptic sampling of the oceans with its 17-day ground track repeat cycle. Altimeter analysis suggests GFO is capable of POSEIDON class altimetry, with orbit error the largest contributor to the GFO altimeter error budget. Satellite laser ranging (SLR), especially in combination with altimeter crossover data, offer the only means of determining high-quality precise orbits. SLR tracking is also augmented by Doppler (Tranet style) beacons. These data were used to tune the gravity field and macromodel (3D representation of the spacecraft geometry and surface properties). Beginning with January 2000 GSFC has produced a 2.5 year span of the Precision Orbit Ephemeris (POE) intended for use on the GFO GDR and for the Pathfinder Project. Using GFO GDR and IGDR altimeter data from NOAA, a two year span of POE orbits are evaluated with respect to the TOPEX orbits by adjusting the GFO data into the TOPEX frame with the help of TOPEX/GFO altimeter crossovers. A 2.5 year span of orbits are also evaluated using tracking data residual analysis, GFO altimeter crossover residual analysis, and direct orbit comparison. In an effort to improve the current POE orbit several ideas are considered, including using recent gravity models which include CHAMP data, the reduced-dynamic approach, and including TOPEX/GFO altimeter crossover data in the orbit solution.

  9. Icesat-2: The Next Generation Laser Altimeter Mission for Polar Research - an Update on Development Status and Science Data

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Markus, T.; Neumann, T.; Anthony, M.

    2014-12-01

    NASA's Ice, Cloud, and land Elevation Satellite-2 (ICESat-2) mission objectives are to quantify polar ice sheet contributions to sea level change, quantify regional signatures of ice sheet changes to assess driving mechanisms, estimate sea ice thickness, and to enable measurements of canopy height as a basis for estimating large-scale biomass. Its predecessor ICESat, which operated from 2003 to 2009, pioneered the use of laser altimeters in space to study the elevation of the Earth's surface and its changes. Among other contributions to the cryospheric sciences, ICESat proved adept at making centimeter-level elevation measurements over both ice sheets and sea ice. Since ICESat stopped collecting data in October 2009, the IceBridge and CryoSat-2 missions continue these important observations. The well-documented and ongoing dramatic and rapid changes in the Earth's ice cover have strengthened the need for sustained observations beyond what CryoSat-2 and IceBridge are expected to provide. Lessons learned from ICESat are the need for cross-track slope information (realized through ICESat-2's multiple beams), a smaller footprint size, and gapless along-track data collection. These needs resulted in a different measurement concept for ICESat-2. The talk will provide a brief summary of the measurement concept, the status of hardware development (instrument Integration and Testing has started in May 2014), and progress on geophysical algorithm development.

  10. Observations of Dust Using the NASA Geoscience Laser Altimeter System (GLAS): New New Measurements of Aerosol Vertical Distribution From Space

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Welton, Ellsworth; Spinhirne, James D.; Palm, Steven P.; Hlavka, Dennis; Hart, William

    2003-01-01

    On January 12, 2003 NASA launched the first satellite-based lidar, the Geoscience Laser -Altimeter System (GLAS), onboard the ICESat spacecraft. The GLAS atmospheric measurements introduce a fundamentally new and important tool for understanding the atmosphere and climate. In the past, aerosols have only been studied from space using images gathered by passive sensors. Analysis of this passive data has lead to an improved understanding of aerosol properties, spatial distribution, and their effect on the earth's climate. However, these images do not show the aerosol's vertical distribution. As a result, a key piece of information has been missing. The measurements now obtained by GLAS will provide information on the vertical distribution of aerosols and clouds, and improve our ability to study their transport processes and aerosol-cloud interactions. Here we show an overview of GLAS, provide an update of its current status, and present initial observations of dust profiles. In particular, a strategy of characterizing the height profile of dust plumes over source regions will be presented.

  11. A ground track control algorithm for the Topographic Mapping Laser Altimeter (TMLA)

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Blaes, V.; Mcintosh, R.; Roszman, L.; Cooley, J.

    1993-01-01

    The results of an analysis of an algorithm that will provide autonomous onboard orbit control using orbits determined with Global Positioning System (GPS) data. The algorithm uses the GPS data to (1) compute the ground track error relative to a fixed longitude grid, and (2) determine the altitude adjustment required to correct the longitude error. A program was written on a personal computer (PC) to test the concept for numerous altitudes and values of solar flux using a simplified orbit model including only the J sub 2 zonal harmonic and simple orbit decay computations. The algorithm was then implemented in a precision orbit propagation program having a full range of perturbations. The analysis showed that, even with all perturbations (including actual time histories of solar flux variation), the algorithm could effectively control the spacecraft ground track and yield more than 99 percent Earth coverage in the time required to complete one coverage cycle on the fixed grid (220 to 230 days depending on altitude and overlap allowance).

  12. Application of Reconfigurable Computing Technology to Multi-KiloHertz Micro-Laser Altimeter (MMLA) Data Processing

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Powell, Wesley; Dabney, Philip; Hicks, Edward; Pinchinat, Maxime; Day, John H. (Technical Monitor)

    2002-01-01

    The Multi-KiloHertz Micro-Laser Altimeter (MMLA) is an aircraft based instrument developed by NASA Goddard Space Flight Center with several potential spaceflight applications. This presentation describes how reconfigurable computing technology was employed to perform MMLA signal extraction in real-time under realistic operating constraints. The MMLA is a "single-photon-counting" airborne laser altimeter that is used to measure land surface features such as topography and vegetation canopy height. This instrument has to date flown a number of times aboard the NASA P3 aircraft acquiring data at a number of sites in the Mid-Atlantic region. This instrument pulses a relatively low-powered laser at a very high rate (10 kHz) and then measures the time-of-flight of discrete returns from the target surface. The instrument then bins these measurements into a two-dimensional array (vertical height vs. horizontal ground track) and selects the most likely signal path through the array. Return data that does not correspond to the selected signal path are classified as noise returns and are then discarded. The MMLA signal extraction algorithm is very compute intensive in that a score must be computed for every possible path through the two dimensional array in order to select the most likely signal path. Given a typical array size with 50 x 6, up to 33 arrays must be processed per second. And for each of these arrays, roughly 12,000 individual paths must be scored. Furthermore, the number of paths increases exponentially with the horizontal size of the array, and linearly with the vertical size. Yet, increasing the horizontal and vertical sizes of the array offer science advantages such as improved range, resolution, and noise rejection. Due to the volume of return data and the compute intensive signal extraction algorithm, the existing PC-based MMLA data system has been unable to perform signal extraction in real-time unless the array is limited in size to one column, This

  13. Global Topography of Mars with the MGS Laser Altimeter (MOLA): Latest Results

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Smith, David E.; Zuber, Maria T.

    1999-01-01

    After acquiring topographic measurements of the northern hemisphere of Mars last Spring and Summer the Mars Global Surveyor (MGS) spacecraft will begin to observe the rest of Mars from its planned mapping orbit in early March of this this year. After successfully completing the aerobraking phase of the mission in February, the spacecraft will be finally placed into the near circular, 400 km polar, mapping orbit for almost continuous observation of the planet for one Mars year. Of particular interest in the early phases will be the structure of the southern ice cap, the cratered southern highlands and the topography in the region of the landing sites of the Mars 98 and the Mars 01 missions.

  14. The Laser Vegetation Imaging Sensor (LVIS): A Medium-Altitude, Digitization-Only, Airborne Laser Altimeter for Mapping Vegetation and Topography

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Blair, J. Bryan; Rabine, David L.; Hofton, Michelle A.

    1999-01-01

    The Laser Vegetation Imaging Sensor (LVIS) is an airborne, scanning laser altimeter designed and developed at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center. LVIS operates at altitudes up to 10 km above ground, and is capable of producing a data swath up to 1000 m wide nominally with 25 m wide footprints. The entire time history of the outgoing and return pulses is digitized, allowing unambiguous determination of range and return pulse structure. Combined with aircraft position and attitude knowledge, this instrument produces topographic maps with decimeter accuracy and vertical height and structure measurements of vegetation. The laser transmitter is a diode-pumped Nd:YAG oscillator producing 1064 nm, 10 nsec, 5 mJ pulses at repetition rates up to 500 Hz. LVIS has recently demonstrated its ability to determine topography (including sub-canopy) and vegetation height and structure on flight missions to various forested regions in the U.S. and Central America. The LVIS system is the airborne simulator for the Vegetation Canopy Lidar (VCL) mission (a NASA Earth remote sensing satellite due for launch in 2000), providing simulated data sets and a platform for instrument proof-of-concept studies. The topography maps and return waveforms produced by LVIS provide Earth scientists with a unique data set allowing studies of topography, hydrology, and vegetation with unmatched accuracy and coverage.

  15. Orbit design for the Laser Interferometer Space Antenna (LISA)

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Xia, Yan; Li, Guangyu; Heinzel, Gerhard; Rüdiger, Albrecht; Luo, Yongjie

    2010-01-01

    The Laser Interferometer Space Antenna (LISA) is a joint ESA-NASA mission for detecting low-frequency gravitational waves in the frequency range from 0.1 mHz to 1 Hz, by using accurate laser interferometry between three spacecrafts, which will be launched around 2018 and one year later reach their operational orbits around the Sun. In order to operate successfully, it is crucial for the constellation of the three spacecrafts to have extremely high stability. Based on the study of operational orbits for a 2015 launch, we design the operational orbits of beginning epoch on 2019-03-01, and introduce the method of orbit design and optimization. We design the orbits of the transfer from Earth to the operational orbits, including launch phase and separation phase; furthermore, the relationship between energy requirement and flight time of these two orbit phases is investigated. Finally, an example of the whole orbit design is presented.

  16. Application of the Shuttle Laser Altimeter in an Accuracy Assessment of Global 1-Kilometer Digital Elevation Data

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Harding, David J.; Carabajal, Claudia C.; Luthcke, Scott B.; Gesch, Dean B.

    1998-01-01

    Shuttle Laser Altimeter (SLA) data have been used to evaluate the accuracy of GTOPO30, the first comprehensive, 1 km resolution, global topographic data set. GTOPO30 was developed by the USGS Eros Data Center (EDC), in part, to address NASA's needs for a global topographic model in support of remote sensing instruments aboard the Earth Observing System AM-1 spacecraft. SLA flew as a part of the STS-72 mission in January, 1996 observing the latitude band from +/- 28.5 deg, and on STS-85 in August, 1997 extending the observations to +/- 57 deg. Combining the SLA ranging data with shuttle position and pointing knowledge yields surface elevation data of very high vertical accuracy in an Earth-centered, absolute reference frame (2.8 m rms difference for SLA-01 with respect to ocean reference surface). Use of the well-determined mean sea surface reference for calibration allows propagation of high accuracy altimetry onto the continents. 436,635 SLA-01 land elevations were compared to the GTOPO30 grid after conversion to a mean sea level vertical datum using the Earth Geoid Model 96, jointly developed by Goddard and NIMA. The comparison reveals systematic elevation biases in southern Asia, Africa, Australia, and south America on the order 10's to 100 meters in the GTOPO30 compilation on spatial scales of 100's to 1000's of kilometers. These biases are likely due to vertical datum errors in the topographic source materials used to compile GTOPO30, which primarily consist of Defense Mapping Agency (DMA) digital elevation and topographic map products. These biases imply that elevation corrections applied to land gravity measurements using these DMA source materials will be biased, leading to errors in geoid models incorporating these land gravity data.

  17. Receiver design, performance analysis, and evaluation for space-borne laser altimeters and space-to-space laser ranging systems

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Davidson, Frederic M.; Sun, Xiaoli; Field, Christopher T.

    1995-01-01

    This Interim report consists of a manuscript, 'Receiver Design for Satellite to Satellite Laser Ranging Instrument,' and copies of two papers we co-authored, 'Demonstration of High Sensitivity Laser Ranging System' and 'Semiconductor Laser-Based Ranging Instrument for Earth Gravity Measurements. ' These two papers were presented at the conference Semiconductor Lasers, Advanced Devices and Applications, August 21 -23, 1995, Keystone Colorado. The manuscript is a draft in the preparation for publication, which summarizes the theory we developed on space-borne laser ranging instrument for gravity measurements.

  18. The GEOS-3 orbit determination investigation

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Pisacane, V. L.; Eisner, A.; Yionoulis, S. M.; Mcconahy, R. J.; Black, H. D.; Pryor, L. L.

    1978-01-01

    The nature and improvement in satellite orbit determination when precise altimetric height data are used in combination with conventional tracking data was determined. A digital orbit determination program was developed that could singly or jointly use laser ranging, C-band ranging, Doppler range difference, and altimetric height data. Two intervals were selected and used in a preliminary evaluation of the altimeter data. With the data available, it was possible to determine the semimajor axis and eccentricity to within several kilometers, in addition to determining an altimeter height bias. When used jointly with a limited amount of either C-band or laser range data, it was shown that altimeter data can improve the orbit solution.

  19. Geoscience Laser Altimeter System (GLAS): Final Test Report of DM LHP TV Testing. Revised

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Baker, Charles

    2000-01-01

    The Demonstration Model (DM) Loop Heat Pipe (LHP) was tested at Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC) during September and October, 1999. The LHP system was placed in the Dynavac 36 in. chamber in Building 4. The test lasted for about 6 weeks. The LHP was built, designed, and manufactured at Dynatherm Corporation, Inc. In Hunt Valley, MD according to GSFC specifications. The purpose of the test was to evaluate the performance of a propylene LHP for the Geoscience Laser Altimetry System (GLAS) instrument application.

  20. Possible ancient oceans on Mars: evidence from Mars Orbiter Laser Altimeter data.

    PubMed

    Head, J W; Hiesinger, H; Ivanov, M A; Kreslavsky, M A; Pratt, S; Thomson, B J

    1999-12-10

    High-resolution altimetric data define the detailed topography of the northern lowlands of Mars, and a range of data is consistent with the hypothesis that a lowland-encircling geologic contact represents the ancient shoreline of a large standing body of water present in middle Mars history. The contact altitude is close to an equipotential line, the topography is smoother at all scales below the contact than above it, the volume enclosed by this contact is within the range of estimates of available water on Mars, and a series of extensive terraces parallel the contact in many places. PMID:10591640

  1. Constraints on Gusev Basin Infill from the Mars Orbiter Laser Altimeter (MOLA) Topography

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Carter, B. L.; Frey, H.; Sakimoto, S. E. H.; Roark, J.

    2001-01-01

    MOLA topography provides volume estimates for Gusev crater based on higher resolution. Revisiting work previously done by Grin and Cabrol (1997), we find a substantial increase in original sedimentation estimates. Additional information is contained in the original extended abstract.

  2. Reflected Signal Analysis and Surface Albedo in the Mars Orbiter Laser Altimeter (MOLA) Investigation

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Ivanov, Anton B.; Muhleman, Duane O.

    2001-01-01

    This work presents results from the analysis of the reflectivity data from the MOLA investigation. We will discuss calculation of the surface albedo using the MGS TES 9 micron opacity. We will also overview reflectivity data collected to date. Additional information is contained in the original extended abstract.

  3. Utopia Basin, Mars: A New Assessment Using Mars Orbiter Laser Altimeter (MOLA) Data

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Thomson, B. J.; Head, J. W., III

    1999-03-01

    We have reexamined Utopia Basin with MOLA topographic data. We found that the maximum ponded volume in the basin corresponds to a water level of -4350 m. We also found a distinctive terrace at this elevation, suggestive of a standing body of water.

  4. Coregistration of Elevation Data from the Lunar Orbiter Laser Altimeter and the SELENE Terrain Camera

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Barker, M. K.; Mazarico, E.; Neumann, G. A.; Smith, D. E.; Zuber, M. T.

    2014-10-01

    Our goal is to produce the most complete, accurate, and precise global terrain model of the lunar surface by coregistering and merging the digital elevation models from LOLA and the SELENE terrain camera.

  5. Single-photon, Dual-color, Polarimetric Laser Altimeter Measurements of Lake Ice Freeboard, Roughness and Scattering Properties

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Harding, D. J.; Dabney, P.; Valett, S.; Shuman, C. A.

    2009-12-01

    The Slope Imaging Multi-polarization Photon-counting Lidar (SIMPL) is an advanced technology airborne laser altimeter developed with a focus on remote sensing of ice sheets and sea ice including their melt state. Its development was sponsored by the NASA Earth Science Technology Office Instrument Incubator Program. SIMPL utilizes micropulse single photon laser ranging at 532 nm (green) and 1064 nm (near-infrared) wavelengths in a four-beam push-broom configuration. Currently, the instrument is capable of flight altitudes of up to 5000 m; this spreads the 4 profiles over a cross-track distance of 30 m providing an estimate of both along-track and cross-track slope magnitudes and directions. For both wavelengths on each beam, depolarization is measured as the ratio of received energy perpendicular and parallel to the plane-polarized transmit beams. The precision of the single photon ranges is 8 cm and a range observation is acquired every 5 to 10 cm at airborne flight speeds. This performance enables measurement of ice freeboard and surface roughness at 5 m length scales based on the height dispersion of single photon ranges aggregated along the profiles. The depolarization ratio is a function of the scattering properties of the target, specifically the proportions of specular reflection and surface and volume scattering. The relationship between surface roughness and depolarization at green and near-IR wavelengths will be illustrated using data acquired during flights over Lake Erie ice cover in February 2009, an analog for sea ice. Observed in simultaneously acquired digital video frames, the ice cover appears to be a heterogeneous amalgamation of ice types, thicknesses and ages. The lake ice is covered by snow in places and contains numerous open water leads to enable ice freeboard detection relative to the water surface. The depolarization ratio differentiates open water, young clear ice, older granular ice and snow cover. The variability of the ratio along a

  6. Free Space Laser Communication Experiments from Earth to the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter in Lunar Orbit

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Sun, Xiaoli; Skillman, David R.; Hoffman, Evan D.; Mao, Dandan; McGarry, Jan F.; Zellar, Ronald S.; Fong, Wai H; Krainak, Michael A.; Neumann, Gregory A.; Smith, David E.

    2013-01-01

    Laser communication and ranging experiments were successfully conducted from the satellite laser ranging (SLR) station at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC) to the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) in lunar orbit. The experiments used 4096-ary pulse position modulation (PPM) for the laser pulses during one-way LRO Laser Ranging (LR) operations. Reed-Solomon forward error correction codes were used to correct the PPM symbol errors due to atmosphere turbulence and pointing jitter. The signal fading was measured and the results were compared to the model.

  7. Free space laser communication experiments from Earth to the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter in lunar orbit.

    PubMed

    Sun, Xiaoli; Skillman, David R; Hoffman, Evan D; Mao, Dandan; McGarry, Jan F; McIntire, Leva; Zellar, Ronald S; Davidson, Frederic M; Fong, Wai H; Krainak, Michael A; Neumann, Gregory A; Zuber, Maria T; Smith, David E

    2013-01-28

    Laser communication and ranging experiments were successfully conducted from the satellite laser ranging (SLR) station at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC) to the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) in lunar orbit. The experiments used 4096-ary pulse position modulation (PPM) for the laser pulses during one-way LRO Laser Ranging (LR) operations. Reed-Solomon forward error correction codes were used to correct the PPM symbol errors due to atmosphere turbulence and pointing jitter. The signal fading was measured and the results were compared to the model. PMID:23389171

  8. A sample design for globally consistent biomass estimation using lidar data from the Geoscience Laser Altimeter System (GLAS)

    PubMed Central

    2012-01-01

    Background Lidar height data collected by the Geosciences Laser Altimeter System (GLAS) from 2002 to 2008 has the potential to form the basis of a globally consistent sample-based inventory of forest biomass. GLAS lidar return data were collected globally in spatially discrete full waveform “shots,” which have been shown to be strongly correlated with aboveground forest biomass. Relationships observed at spatially coincident field plots may be used to model biomass at all GLAS shots, and well-established methods of model-based inference may then be used to estimate biomass and variance for specific spatial domains. However, the spatial pattern of GLAS acquisition is neither random across the surface of the earth nor is it identifiable with any particular systematic design. Undefined sample properties therefore hinder the use of GLAS in global forest sampling. Results We propose a method of identifying a subset of the GLAS data which can justifiably be treated as a simple random sample in model-based biomass estimation. The relatively uniform spatial distribution and locally arbitrary positioning of the resulting sample is similar to the design used by the US national forest inventory (NFI). We demonstrated model-based estimation using a sample of GLAS data in the US state of California, where our estimate of biomass (211 Mg/hectare) was within the 1.4% standard error of the design-based estimate supplied by the US NFI. The standard error of the GLAS-based estimate was significantly higher than the NFI estimate, although the cost of the GLAS estimate (excluding costs for the satellite itself) was almost nothing, compared to at least US$ 10.5 million for the NFI estimate. Conclusions Global application of model-based estimation using GLAS, while demanding significant consolidation of training data, would improve inter-comparability of international biomass estimates by imposing consistent methods and a globally coherent sample frame. The methods presented here

  9. Performance Considerations for the SIMPL Single Photon, Polarimetric, Two-Color Laser Altimeter as Applied to Measurements of Forest Canopy Structure and Composition

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Dabney, Philip W.; Harding, David J.; Valett, Susan R.; Vasilyev, Aleksey A.; Yu, Anthony W.

    2012-01-01

    The Slope Imaging Multi-polarization Photon-counting Lidar (SIMPL) is a multi-beam, micropulse airborne laser altimeter that acquires active and passive polarimetric optical remote sensing measurements at visible and near-infrared wavelengths. SIMPL was developed to demonstrate advanced measurement approaches of potential benefit for improved, more efficient spaceflight laser altimeter missions. SIMPL data have been acquired for wide diversity of forest types in the summers of 2010 and 2011 in order to assess the potential of its novel capabilities for characterization of vegetation structure and composition. On each of its four beams SIMPL provides highly-resolved measurements of forest canopy structure by detecting single-photons with 15 cm ranging precision using a narrow-beam system operating at a laser repetition rate of 11 kHz. Associated with that ranging data SIMPL provides eight amplitude parameters per beam unlike the single amplitude provided by typical laser altimeters. Those eight parameters are received energy that is parallel and perpendicular to that of the plane-polarized transmit pulse at 532 nm (green) and 1064 nm (near IR), for both the active laser backscatter retro-reflectance and the passive solar bi-directional reflectance. This poster presentation will cover the instrument architecture and highlight the performance of the SIMPL instrument with examples taken from measurements for several sites with distinct canopy structures and compositions. Specific performance areas such as probability of detection, after pulsing, and dead time, will be highlighted and addressed, along with examples of their impact on the measurements and how they limit the ability to accurately model and recover the canopy properties. To assess the sensitivity of SIMPL's measurements to canopy properties an instrument model has been implemented in the FLIGHT radiative transfer code, based on Monte Carlo simulation of photon transport. SIMPL data collected in 2010 over

  10. NOSS altimeter algorithm specifications

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Hancock, D. W.; Forsythe, R. G.; Mcmillan, J. D.

    1982-01-01

    A description of all algorithms required for altimeter processing is given. Each description includes title, description, inputs/outputs, general algebraic sequences and data volume. All required input/output data files are described and the computer resources required for the entire altimeter processing system were estimated. The majority of the data processing requirements for any radar altimeter of the Seasat-1 type are scoped. Additions and deletions could be made for the specific altimeter products required by other projects.

  11. Full-waveform, Laser Altimeter Measurements of Vegetation Vertical Structure and Sub-canopy Topography in Support of the North American Carbon Program

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Blair, B.; Hofton, M.; Rabine, D.; Padden, P.; Rhoads, J.

    2004-01-01

    Full-waveform, scanning laser altimeters (i.e. lidar) provide a unique and precise view of the vertical and horizontal structure of vegetation across wide swaths. These unique laser altimeters systems are able to simultaneously image sub-canopy topography and the vertical structure of any overlying vegetation. These data reveal the true 3-D distribution of vegetation in leaf-on conditions enabling important biophysical parameters such as canopy height and aboveground biomass to be estimated with unprecedented accuracy. An airborne lidar mission was conducted in the summer of 2003 in support of preliminary studies for the North America Carbon Program. NASA's Laser Vegetation Imaging Sensor (LVIS) was used to image approximately 2,000 sq km in Maine, New Hampshire, Massachusetts and Maryland. Areas with available ground and other data were included (e.g., experimental forests, FLUXNET sites) in order to facilitate numerous bio- and geophysical investigations. Data collected included ground elevation and canopy height measurements for each laser footprint, as well as the vertical distribution of intercepted surfaces (i.e. the return waveform). Data are currently available at the LVIS website (http://lvis.gsfc.nasa.gov/). Further details of the mission, including the lidar system technology, the locations of the mapped areas, and examples of the numerous data products that can be derived from the return waveform data products are available on the website and will be presented. Future applications including potential fusion with other remote sensing data sets and a spaceborne implementation of wide-swath, full-waveform imaging lidar will also be discussed.

  12. NASA's Operation IceBridge: using instrumented aircraft to bridge the observational gap between ICESat and ICESat-2 laser altimeter measurements (Invited)

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Studinger, M.; Koenig, L.; Martin, S.; Sonntag, J. G.

    2010-12-01

    In 2009, the NASA satellite laser altimeter mission ICESat (Ice, Cloud and Land Elevation Satellite), which was launched in 2003, ceased to operate. To bridge the gap in polar laser observations between ICESat and its replacement ICESat-2, which is not scheduled for launch until 2015, Operation IceBridge, a six-year NASA airborne mission, was initiated in 2009. From a series of yearly polar flights, Operation IceBridge uses airborne instruments to map rapidly changing areas in the Arctic and Antarctic, building on two decades of repeat airborne and satellite measurements. Combined with previous aircraft observations, as well as ICESat, CryoSat-2 and the forthcoming ICESat-2 observations, Operation IceBridge will produce a cross-calibrated 17-year time series of ice sheet and sea-ice elevation data over Antarctica, as well as a 27-year time series over Greenland. These time series will be a critical resource for predictive models of sea ice and ice sheet behavior. In addition to laser altimetry, Operation IceBridge is using a comprehensive suite of instruments to produce a three-dimensional view of the Arctic and Antarctic ice sheets, ice shelves and the sea ice. The suite includes two NASA laser altimeters, the Airborne Topographic Mapper (ATM) and the Land, Vegetation and Ice Sensor (LVIS); four radar systems from the University of Kansas’ Center for Remote Sensing of Ice Sheets (CReSIS), a Ku-band radar altimeter, accumulation radar, snow radar and the Multichannel Coherent Radar Depth Sounder (MCoRDS); a Sander Geophysics airborne gravimeter (AIRGrav) and a high resolution stereographic camera (DMS). The first Operation IceBridge flights were conducted between March and May 2009 over the Arctic and between October and November 2009 over Antarctica. Since its start in 2009, Operation IceBridge has flown 69 science missions, 580 flight hours and collected more than 350,000 km of data. All Operation IceBridge data are available at NSDIC: http

  13. Laser Systems for Orbital Debris Removal

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Rubenchik, A. M.; Barty, C. P. J.; Beach, R. J.; Erlandson, A. C.; Caird, J. A.

    2010-10-01

    The use of a ground based laser for space debris cleaning was investigated by the ORION project in 1996. Since that study the greatest technological advance in the development of high energy pulsed laser systems has taken place within the NIF project at LLNL. The proposed next laser system to follow the NIF at LLNL will be a high rep rate version of the NIF based on diode-pumping rather than flashlamp excitation; the so called "LIFE" laser system. Because a single "LIFE" beamline could be built up in a few year time frame, and has performance characteristics relevant to the space debris clearing problem, such a beamline could enable a near term demonstration of space debris cleaning. Moreover, the specifics of debris cleaning make it possible to simplify the LIFE laser beyond what is required for a fusion drive laser, and so substantially reduce its cost. Starting with the requirements for laser intensity on the target, and then considering beam delivery, we will flow back the laser requirements needed for space debris cleaning. Using these derived requirements we will then optimize the pulse duration, the operational regime, and the output pulse energy of the laser with a focus of simplifying its overall design. Anticipated simplifications include operation in the heat capacity regime, eliminating cooling requirements on the laser gain slabs, and relaxing B-integral and birefrigence requirements.

  14. Laser Systems for Orbital Debris Removal

    SciTech Connect

    Rubenchik, A. M.; Barty, C. P. J.; Beach, R. J.; Erlandson, A. C.; Caird, J. A.

    2010-10-08

    The use of a ground based laser for space debris cleaning was investigated by the ORION project in 1996. Since that study the greatest technological advance in the development of high energy pulsed laser systems has taken place within the NIF project at LLNL. The proposed next laser system to follow the NIF at LLNL will be a high rep rate version of the NIF based on diode-pumping rather than flashlamp excitation; the so called 'LIFE' laser system. Because a single 'LIFE' beamline could be built up in a few year time frame, and has performance characteristics relevant to the space debris clearing problem, such a beamline could enable a near term demonstration of space debris cleaning. Moreover, the specifics of debris cleaning make it possible to simplify the LIFE laser beyond what is required for a fusion drive laser, and so substantially reduce its cost. Starting with the requirements for laser intensity on the target, and then considering beam delivery, we will flow back the laser requirements needed for space debris cleaning. Using these derived requirements we will then optimize the pulse duration, the operational regime, and the output pulse energy of the laser with a focus of simplifying its overall design. Anticipated simplifications include operation in the heat capacity regime, eliminating cooling requirements on the laser gain slabs, and relaxing B-integral and birefrigence requirements.

  15. Laser Systems for Orbital Debris Removal

    SciTech Connect

    Rubenchik, A M; Barty, C P; Beach, R J; Erlandson, A C; Caird, J A

    2010-02-05

    The use of a ground based laser for space debris cleaning was investigated by the ORION project in 1996. Since that study the greatest technological advance in the development of high energy pulsed laser systems has taken place within the NIF project at LLNL. The proposed next laser system to follow the NIF at LLNL will be a high rep rate version of the NIF based on diode-pumping rather than flashlamp excitation; the so called 'LIFE' laser system. Because a single 'LIFE' beamline could be built up in a few year time frame, and has performance characteristics relevant to the space debris clearing problem, such a beamline could enable a near term demonstration of space debris cleaning. Moreover, the specifics of debris cleaning make it possible to simplify the LIFE laser beyond what is required for a fusion drive laser, and so substantially reduce its cost. Starting with the requirements for laser intensity on the target, and then considering beam delivery, we will flow back the laser requirements needed for space debris cleaning. Using these derived requirements we will then optimize the pulse duration, the operational regime, and the output pulse energy of the laser with a focus of simplifying its overall design. Anticipated simplifications include operation in the heat capacity regime, eliminating cooling requirements on the laser gain slabs, and relaxing B-integral and birefrigence requirements.

  16. New Measurements of Aerosol Vertical Structure from Space using the NASA Geoscience Laser Altimeter System (GLAS): Applications for Aerosol Transport Models

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Welton, E. J.; Spinhime, J.; Palm, S.; Hlavka, D.; Hart, W.; Ginoux, P.; Chin, M.; Colarco, P.

    2004-01-01

    In the past, satellite measurements of aerosols have only been possible using passive sensors. Analysis of passive satellite data has lead to an improved understanding of aerosol properties, spatial distribution, and their effect on the earth,s climate. However, direct measurement of aerosol vertical distribution has not been possible using only the passive data. Knowledge of aerosol vertical distribution is important to correctly assess the impact of aerosol absorption, for certain atmospheric correction procedures, and to help constrain height profiles in aerosol transport models. On January 12,2003 NASA launched the first satellite-based lidar, the Geoscience Laser Altimeter System (GLAS), onboard the ICESat spacecraft. GLAS is both an altimeter and an atmospheric lidar, and obtains direct measurements of aerosol and cloud heights. Here we show an overview of GLAS, provide an update of its current status, and discuss how GLAS data will be useful for modeling efforts. In particular, a strategy of using GLAS to characterize the height profile of dust plumes over source regions will be presented, along with initial results. Such information can be used to validate and improve output from aerosol transport models. Aerosol height profile comparisons between GLAS and transport models will be shown for regions downwind of aerosol sources. We will also discuss the feasibility of assimilating GLAS profiles into the models in order to improve their output.

  17. New Measurements of Aerosol Vertical Structure from Space Using the NASA Geoscience Laser Altimeter System (GLAS): Applications for Aerosol Transport Models

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Welton, Ellsworth J.; Ginoux, Paul; Colarco, Peter; Chin, Mian; Spinhirne, James D.; Palm, Steven P.; Hlavka, Dennis; Hart, William

    2003-01-01

    In the past, satellite measurements of aerosols have only been possible using passive sensors. Analysis of passive satellite data has lead to an improved understanding of aerosol properties, spatial distribution, and their effect on the earth s climate. However, direct measurement of aerosol vertical distribution has not been possible using only the passive data. Knowledge of aerosol vertical distribution is important to correctly assess the impact of aerosol absorption, for certain atmospheric correction procedures, and to help constrain height profiles in aerosol transport models. On January 12,2003 NASA launched the first satellite-based lidar, the Geoscience Laser Altimeter System (GLAS), onboard the ICESat spacecraft. GLAS is both an altimeter and an atmospheric lidar, and obtains direct measurements of aerosol and cloud heights. Here we show an overview of GLAS, provide an update of its current status, and discuss how GUS data will be useful for modeling efforts. In particular, a strategy of using GLAS to characterize the height profile of dust plumes over source regions will be presented, along with initial results. Such information can be used to validate and improve output from aerosol transport models. Aerosol height profile comparisons between GLAS and transport models will be shown for regions downwind of aerosol sources. We will also discuss the feasibility of assimilating GLAS profiles into the models in order to improve their output,

  18. Evaluation of IGS Orbits with Satellite Laser Ranging

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Watkins, M. M.; Bar-Sever, Y. E.; Yuan, D. N.

    1996-01-01

    The accuracy with which orbits for the Global Positioning System (GPS) spacecraft, can be computed directly affects the accuracy of the resulting site coordinates and polar motion. Several groups routinely analyze GPS ground tracking data to compute precise orbits and terrestrial reference frame solutions. In this paper, we infer the accuracy of the orbits of two of the GPS satellites by comparing to independent laser ranges of subcentimeter accuracy obtained by a small but reasonably well distributed network of tracking sites. We find that all seven International GPS Service for Geodynamics (IGS) analysis centers achieve range residual root mean square (rms) errors at or below the 100 mm level. The best orbit solutions, from JPL, CODE, and the IGS combined product, yield a residual rms of about 50 mm. These residuals are consistent with three dimensional orbit errors of less than 150 mm. Estimating yaw rates for the spacecraft during shadow events, and using these estimates to compute the laser residual, significantly improves the fit. A small mean residual value of -15 to -30 mm seems to exist for most centers and laser sites which is not fully explained at present, but may be due to uncertainties in the corrections to the laser data, such as the reflector to spacecraft center of mass vector or small reference frame differences between the SLR sites and the GPS orbits.

  19. Precise orbit computation and sea surface modeling

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Wakker, Karel F.; Ambrosius, B. A. C.; Rummel, R.; Vermaat, E.; Deruijter, W. P. M.; Vandermade, J. W.; Zimmerman, J. T. F.

    1991-01-01

    The research project described below is part of a long-term program at Delft University of Technology aiming at the application of European Remote Sensing satellite (ERS-1) and TOPEX/POSEIDON altimeter measurements for geophysical purposes. This program started in 1980 with the processing of Seasat laser range and altimeter height measurements and concentrates today on the analysis of Geosat altimeter data. The objectives of the TOPEX/POSEIDON research project are the tracking of the satellite by the Dutch mobile laser tracking system MTLRS-2, the computation of precise TOPEX/POSEIDON orbits, the analysis of the spatial and temporal distribution of the orbit errors, the improvement of ERS-1 orbits through the information obtained from the altimeter crossover difference residuals for crossing ERS-1 and TOPEX/POSEIDON tracks, the combination of ERS-1 and TOPEX/POSEIDON altimeter data into a single high-precision data set, and the application of this data set to model the sea surface. The latter application will focus on the determination of detailed regional mean sea surfaces, sea surface variability, ocean topography, and ocean currents in the North Atlantic, the North Sea, the seas around Indonesia, the West Pacific, and the oceans around South Africa.

  20. Ground truth data requirements for altimeter performance verification

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Walsh, E. J.

    1972-01-01

    The amount and type of ground truth required for an altimeter experiment is a function of the uncertainty in the satellite orbit, the altimeter error budget and the type of operation being performed. Ground truth requirements will be discussed with reference to three areas of operation: the global mode, the high intensity mode and calibration.

  1. NASA's Operation IceBridge: using instrumented aircraft to bridge the observational gap between ICESat and ICESat-2 laser altimeter measurements

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Studinger, M.

    2012-12-01

    NASA's Operation IceBridge images Earth's polar ice in unprecedented detail to better understand processes that connect the polar regions with the global climate system. Operation IceBridge utilizes a highly specialized fleet of research aircraft and the most sophisticated suite of innovative science instruments ever assembled to characterize annual changes in thickness of sea ice, glaciers, and ice sheets. In addition, Operation IceBridge collects critical data used to predict the response of Earth's polar ice to climate change and resulting sea-level rise. IceBridge also helps bridge the gap in polar observations betweenNASA's ICESat satellite missions. Combined with previous aircraft observations, as well as ICESat, CryoSat-2 and the forthcoming ICESat-2 observations, Operation IceBridge will produce a cross-calibrated 17-year time series of ice sheet and sea-ice elevation data over Antarctica, as well as a 27-year time series over Greenland. These time series will be a critical resource for predictive models of sea ice and ice sheet behavior. In addition to laser altimetry, Operation IceBridge is using a comprehensive suite of instruments to produce a three-dimensional view of the Arctic and Antarctic ice sheets, ice shelves and the sea ice. The suite includes two NASA laser altimeters, the Airborne Topographic Mapper (ATM) and the Land, Vegetation and Ice Sensor (LVIS); four radar systems from the University of Kansas' Center for Remote Sensing of Ice Sheets (CReSIS), a Ku-band radar altimeter, accumulation radar, snow radar and the Multichannel Coherent Radar Depth Sounder (MCoRDS); a Sander Geophysics airborne gravimeter (AIRGrav), a magnetometer and a high-resolution stereographic camera (DMS). Since its start in 2009, Operation IceBridge has deployed 7 geophysical survey aircraft, 18 science instruments. All IceBridge data is freely available from NSIDC (http://nsidc.org/data/icebridge) 6 months after completion of a campaign.

  2. NASA's Operation IceBridge: using instrumented aircraft to bridge the observational gap between ICESat and ICESat-2 laser altimeter measurements

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Studinger, M.

    2013-12-01

    NASA's Operation IceBridge images Earth's polar ice in unprecedented detail to better understand processes that connect the polar regions with the global climate system. Operation IceBridge utilizes a highly specialized fleet of research aircraft and the most sophisticated suite of innovative science instruments ever assembled to characterize annual changes in thickness of sea ice, glaciers, and ice sheets. In addition, Operation IceBridge collects critical data used to predict the response of Earth's polar ice to climate change and resulting sea-level rise. IceBridge also helps bridge the gap in polar observations between NASA's ICESat satellite missions. Combined with previous aircraft observations, as well as ICESat, CryoSat-2 and the forthcoming ICESat-2 observations, Operation IceBridge will produce a cross-calibrated 17-year time series of ice sheet and sea-ice elevation data over Antarctica, as well as a 27-year time series over Greenland. These time series will be a critical resource for predictive models of sea ice and ice sheet behavior. In addition to laser altimetry, Operation IceBridge is using a comprehensive suite of instruments to produce a three-dimensional view of the Arctic and Antarctic ice sheets, ice shelves and the sea ice. The suite includes two NASA laser altimeters, the Airborne Topographic Mapper (ATM) and the Land, Vegetation and Ice Sensor (LVIS); four radar systems from the University of Kansas' Center for Remote Sensing of Ice Sheets (CReSIS), a Ku-band radar altimeter, accumulation radar, snow radar and the Multichannel Coherent Radar Depth Sounder (MCoRDS); a Sander Geophysics airborne gravimeter (AIRGrav), a magnetometer and a high-resolution stereographic camera (DMS). Since its start in 2009, Operation IceBridge has deployed 8 geophysical survey aircraft and 19 science instruments. All IceBridge data is freely available from NSIDC (http://nsidc.org/data/icebridge) 6 months after completion of a campaign.

  3. Orbit Determination Analysis Utilizing Radiometric and Laser Ranging Measurements for GPS Orbit

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Welch, Bryan W.

    2007-01-01

    While navigation systems for the determination of the orbit of the Global Position System (GPS) have proven to be very effective, the current issues involve lowering the error in the GPS satellite ephemerides below their current level. In this document, the results of an orbit determination covariance assessment are provided. The analysis is intended to be the baseline orbit determination study comparing the benefits of adding laser ranging measurements from various numbers of ground stations. Results are shown for two starting longitude assumptions of the satellite location and for nine initial covariance cases for the GPS satellite state vector.

  4. Contributions of Satellite Laser Ranging to the Precise Orbit Determination of Low Earth Orbiters

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Wirnsberger, H.; Krauss, S.; Baur, O.

    2014-11-01

    Space-based monitoring and modeling of the system Earth requires precise knowledge of the orbits of artificial satellites. In this framework, since decades Satellite Laser Ranging (SLR) contributes with high measurement accuracy and robust tracking data to precise orbit determination. One essential role of SLR tracking is the external validation of orbit solutions derived from Global Navigation Satellite Systems (GNSS), such as the Global Positioning System (GPS). This valuable task of external validation is performed by the comparison of computed ranges based on orbit solutions and unambiguous SLR tracking data (observed ranges). Apart from validation, extension of the existing SLR network by passive antennas in combination with multistatic observations provides improvements in orbit determination processes with the background of sparse tracking data. Conceptually, these multistatic observations refer to the tracking of spacecraft from an active SLR-station and the detection of the diffuse reflected photons from the spacecraft at one or more passive stations.

  5. Altimeter waveform software design

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Hayne, G. S.; Miller, L. S.; Brown, G. S.

    1977-01-01

    Techniques are described for preprocessing raw return waveform data from the GEOS-3 radar altimeter. Topics discussed include: (1) general altimeter data preprocessing to be done at the GEOS-3 Data Processing Center to correct altimeter waveform data for temperature calibrations, to convert between engineering and final data units and to convert telemetered parameter quantities to more appropriate final data distribution values: (2) time "tagging" of altimeter return waveform data quantities to compensate for various delays, misalignments and calculational intervals; (3) data processing procedures for use in estimating spacecraft attitude from altimeter waveform sampling gates; and (4) feasibility of use of a ground-based reflector or transponder to obtain in-flight calibration information on GEOS-3 altimeter performance.

  6. Benefits Derived From Laser Ranging Measurements for Orbit Determination of the GPS Satellite Orbit

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Welch, Bryan W.

    2007-01-01

    While navigation systems for the determination of the orbit of the Global Position System (GPS) have proven to be very effective, the current research is examining methods to lower the error in the GPS satellite ephemerides below their current level. Two GPS satellites that are currently in orbit carry retro-reflectors onboard. One notion to reduce the error in the satellite ephemerides is to utilize the retro-reflectors via laser ranging measurements taken from multiple Earth ground stations. Analysis has been performed to determine the level of reduction in the semi-major axis covariance of the GPS satellites, when laser ranging measurements are supplemented to the radiometric station keeping, which the satellites undergo. Six ground tracking systems are studied to estimate the performance of the satellite. The first system is the baseline current system approach which provides pseudo-range and integrated Doppler measurements from six ground stations. The remaining five ground tracking systems utilize all measurements from the current system and laser ranging measurements from the additional ground stations utilized within those systems. Station locations for the additional ground sites were taken from a listing of laser ranging ground stations from the International Laser Ranging Service. Results show reductions in state covariance estimates when utilizing laser ranging measurements to solve for the satellite s position component of the state vector. Results also show dependency on the number of ground stations providing laser ranging measurements, orientation of the satellite to the ground stations, and the initial covariance of the satellite's state vector.

  7. Laser Remediation of Threats Posed by Small Orbital Debris

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Fork, Richard L.; Rogers, Jan R.; Hovater, Mary A.

    2012-01-01

    The continually increasing amount of orbital debris in near Earth space poses an increasing challenge to space situational awareness. Recent collisions of spacecraft caused abrupt increases in the density of both large and small debris in near Earth space. An especially challenging class of threats is that due to the increasing density of small (1 mm to 10 cm dimension) orbital debris. This small debris poses a serious threat since: (1) The high velocity enables even millimeter dimension debris to cause serious damage to vulnerable areas of space assets, e.g., detector windows; (2) The small size and large number of debris elements prevent adequate detection and cataloguing. We have identified solutions to this threat in the form of novel laser systems and novel ways of using these laser systems. While implementation of the solutions we identify is challenging we find approaches offering threat mitigation within time frames and at costs of practical interest. We base our analysis on the unique combination of coherent light specifically structured in both space and time and applied in novel ways entirely within the vacuum of space to deorbiting small debris. We compare and contrast laser based small debris removal strategies using ground based laser systems with strategies using space based laser systems. We find laser systems located and used entirely within space offer essential and decisive advantages over groundbased laser systems.

  8. Project LOCOST: Laser or Chemical Hybrid Orbital Space Transport

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Dixon, Alan; Kost, Alicia; Lampshire, Gregory; Larsen, Rob; Monahan, Bob; Wright, Geoff

    1990-01-01

    A potential mission in the late 1990s is the servicing of spacecraft assets located in GEO. The Geosynchronous Operations Support Center (GeoShack) will be supported by a space transfer vehicle based at the Space Station (SS). The vehicle will transport cargo between the SS and the GeoShack. A proposed unmanned, laser or chemical hybrid orbital space transfer vehicle (LOCOST) can be used to efficiently transfer cargo between the two orbits. A preliminary design shows that an unmanned, laser/chemical hybrid vehicle results in the fuel savings needed while still providing fast trip times. The LOCOST vehicle receives a 12 MW laser beam from one Earth orbiting, solar pumped, iodide Laser Power Station (LPS). Two Energy Relay Units (ERU) provide laser beam support during periods of line-of-sight blockage by the Earth. The baseline mission specifies a 13 day round trip transfer time. The ship's configuration consist of an optical train, one hydrogen laser engine, two chemical engines, a 18 m by 29 m box truss, a mission-flexible payload module, and propellant tanks. Overall vehicle dry mass is 8,000 kg. Outbound cargo mass is 20,000 kg, and inbound cargo mass is 6,000 kg. The baseline mission needs 93,000 kg of propellants to complete the scenario. Fully fueled, outbound mission mass is 121,000 kg. A regeneratively cooled, single plasma, laser engine design producing a maximum of 768 N of thrust is utilized along with two traditional chemical engines. The payload module is designed to hold 40,000 kg of cargo, though the baseline mission specifies less. A proposed design of a laser/chemical hybrid vehicle provides a trip time and propellant efficient means to transport cargo from the SS to a GeoShack. Its unique, hybrid propulsion system provides safety through redundancy, allows baseline missions to be efficiently executed, while still allowing for the possibility of larger cargo transfers.

  9. Photon-Counting Multikilohertz Microlaser Altimeters for Airborne and Spaceborne Topographic Measurements

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Degnan, John J.; Smith, David E. (Technical Monitor)

    2000-01-01

    We consider the optimum design of photon-counting microlaser altimeters operating from airborne and spaceborne platforms under both day and night conditions. Extremely compact Q-switched microlaser transmitters produce trains of low energy pulses at multi-kHz rates and can easily generate subnanosecond pulse-widths for precise ranging. To guide the design, we have modeled the solar noise background and developed simple algorithms, based on Post-Detection Poisson Filtering (PDPF), to optimally extract the weak altimeter signal from a high noise background during daytime operations. Practical technology issues, such as detector and/or receiver dead times, have also been considered in the analysis. We describe an airborne prototype, being developed under NASA's instrument Incubator Program, which is designed to operate at a 10 kHz rate from aircraft cruise altitudes up to 12 km with laser pulse energies on the order of a few microjoules. We also analyze a compact and power efficient system designed to operate from Mars orbit at an altitude of 300 km and sample the Martian surface at rates up to 4.3 kHz using a 1 watt laser transmitter and an 18 cm telescope. This yields a Power-Aperture Product of 0.24 W-square meter, corresponding to a value almost 4 times smaller than the Mars Orbiting Laser Altimeter (0. 88W-square meter), yet the sampling rate is roughly 400 times greater (4 kHz vs 10 Hz) Relative to conventional high power laser altimeters, advantages of photon-counting laser altimeters include: (1) a more efficient use of available laser photons providing up to two orders of magnitude greater surface sampling rates for a given laser power-telescope aperture product; (2) a simultaneous two order of magnitude reduction in the volume, cost and weight of the telescope system; (3) the unique ability to spatially resolve the source of the surface return in a photon counting mode through the use of pixellated or imaging detectors; and (4) improved vertical and

  10. Comprehensive study of electro-optic and passive Q-switching in solid state lasers for altimeter applications

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bhardwaj, Atul; Agrawal, Lalita; Pal, Suranjan; Kumar, Anil

    2006-12-01

    Laser Science and Technology Center (LASTEC), Delhi, is developing a space qualified diode pumped Nd: YAG laser transmitter capable of generating 10 ns pulses of 30 mJ energy @ 10 pps. This paper presents the results of experiments for comparative studies between electro-optic and passively Q-switched Nd: YAG laser in a crossed porro prism based laser resonator. Experimental studies have been performed by developing an economical bench model of flash lamp pumped Nd: YAG laser (rod dimension, \

  11. Mars Orbiter Laser Altimetry Pulse-Widths as an Indicator of Surface Roughness at Gale Crater

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Poole, W.; Muller, J.-P.; Gupta, S.

    2012-09-01

    One of the secondary science goals of the Mars Orbiter Laser Altimeter (MOLA) was to investigate surface roughness within the laser footprint using the backscatter pulse-widths of individual pulses [1]. As a pulse is fired, it diverges so that by the time it reaches the Martian surface the footprint diameter is approximately 170 m [1]. The pulse is then reflected back, and the photons are collected by the telescope. The time spread of the returning photons is measured and recorded by the instrument, and, after correcting for instrument and along-track slope effects, what remains is believed to indicate surface roughness within the footprint. At present, the baseline at which this method is thought to respond is 100 m. However, a corrected version of this dataset suggested that the actual response baseline is nearer 35 m, after the footprint diameter had been redefined to 70 m, bad data had been removed, and better slope corrections performed [2]. This work explores at which baseline these pulsewidths actually respond, by comparing pulse-width values to surface roughness estimates from digital terrain models (DTMs) produced from High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) stereo-images [3]. The MOLA instrument has nearglobal coverage, albeit with 300 m along-track spacing and ≈4 km inter-track average spacing at the equator, so the effective calibration of pulse-width data would provide us with a valuable resource for identifying potential landing and roving sites, as well as looking at geology at fine scales relating to different surface processes.

  12. Estimation of mean sea surfaces in the north Atlantic, the Pacific and the Indian Ocean using GEOS-3 altimeter data

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Marsh, J. G.; Martin, T. V.; Mccarthy, J. J.; Chovitz, P. S.

    1979-01-01

    The mean surfaces of several regions of the world's oceans were estimated using GEOS-3 altimeter data. The northwest Atlantic, the northeast Pacific off the coast of California, the Indian Ocean, the southwest Pacific, and the Phillipine Sea are included. These surfaces have been oriented with respect to a common earth center-of-mass system by constraining the separate solutions to conform to precisely determined laser reference control orbits. The same reference orbits were used for all regions assuring continuity of the separate solutions. Radial accuracies of the control orbits were in the order of one meter. The altimeter measured sea surface height crossover differences were minimized by the adjustment of tilt and bias parameters for each pass with the exception of laser reference control passes. The tilt and bias adjustments removed long wavelength errors which were primarily due to orbit error. Ocean tides were evaluated. The resolution of the estimated sea surfaces varied from 0.25 degrees off the east coast of the United States to about 2 degrees in part of the Indian Ocean near Australia. The rms crossover discrepancy after adjustment varied from 30 cm to 70 cm depending upon geographic location. Comparisons of the altimeter derived mean sea surface in the North Atlantic with the 5 feet x 5 feet GEM-8 detailed gravimetric geoid indicated a relative consistency of better than a meter.

  13. CGPS Implementation and Lidar/Laser Altimeter Experiences at l'Estartit, Ibiza and Barcelona Harbours for Sea Level Monitoring

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Martinez-Benjamin, J.; Schutz, B.; Urban, T.; Ortiz Castellon, M.; Martinez-Garcia, M.; Ruiz, A.; Perez, B.; Rodriguez-Velasco, G.

    2008-12-01

    In the framework of a Spanish Space Project, the instrumentation of sea level measurements has been improved by providing the Barcelona site with a radar tide gauge and with a continuous GPS station nearby. The radar tide gauge is a Datamar 3000C device and a Thales Navigation Internet-Enabled GPS Continuous Geodetic Reference Station (iCGRS) with a choke ring antenna. It is intended that the overall system will constitute a CGPS Station of the ESEAS (European Sea Level) and TIGA (GPS Tide Gauge Benchmark Monitoring) networks. Puertos del Estado (Spanish Harbours) installed the tide gauge station at Ibiza harbour in January 2003. The station belongs to the REDMAR network, composed at this moment by 21 stations distributed along the whole Spanish waters, including also the Canary islands. The tide gauge also belongs to the ESEAS (European Sea Level) network. At the Barcelona harbour they have installed a radar tide gauge near a GPS station belonging to Puerto de Barcelona. L'Estartit floating tide gauge was set up in 1990. Data are taken in graphics registers from each two hours the mean value is recorded in an electronic support. L'Estartit tide gauge series provides good quality information about the changes in the sea heights at centimeter level, that is the magnitude of the common tides in the Mediterranean. Two airborne calibration campaigns carrying an Optech Lidar ALTM-3025 (ICC) were made on June 16, 2007 with a Partenavia P-68 and October 12, 2007, with a Cessna Caravan 208B flying along two ICESat target tracks including crossover near l'Estartit. The validation of this new technology LIDAR may be useful to fill coastal areas where satellite radar altimeters are not measuring due to the large footprint and the resulting gaps of about 15-30 km within the coastline. Measurements with a GPS Buoy at l'Estartit harbour were made during the June experience and a GPS reference station was installed in Aiguablava. On October 12, 2007, another LIDAR campaign was

  14. LASER STRIPPING COMPUTING WITH THE PYTHON ORBIT CODE

    SciTech Connect

    Gorlov, Timofey V; Shishlo, Andrei P

    2009-01-01

    The laser assisted hydrogen stripping becomes a widely discussed alternative for the existing stripping foil approach. The simulation tool for this new approach is presented. The created application is implemented in form of extension module to the Python ORBIT parallel code that is under development at the SNS. The physical model of the application deals with quantum theory and allows calculating evolution and ionization of hydrogen atoms and ions affected by superposition of electromagnetic and laser fields. The algorithm, structure, benchmark cases, and results of simulations for several future and existing accelerators are discussed.

  15. Laser propulsion to earth orbit. Has its time come?

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Kantrowitz, Arthur

    1989-01-01

    Recent developments in high energy lasers, adaptive optics, and atmospheric transmission bring laser propulsion much closer to realization. Proposed here is a reference vehicle for study which consists of payload and solid propellant (e.g. ice). A suitable laser pulse is proposed for using a Laser Supported Detonation wave to produce thrust efficiently. It seems likely that a minimum system (10 Mw CO2 laser and 10 m dia. mirror) could be constructed for about $150 M. This minimum system could launch payloads of about 13 kg to a 400 km orbit every 10 minutes. The annual launch capability would be about 683 tons times the duty factor. Laser propulsion would be an order of magnitude cheaper than chemical rockets if the duty factor was 20 percent (10,000 launches/yr). Launches beyond that would be even cheaper. The chief problem which needs to be addressed before these possibilities could be realized is the design of a propellant to turn laser energy into thrust efficiently and to withstand the launch environment.

  16. Ground-to-orbit laser propulsion: Advanced applications

    SciTech Connect

    Kare, J.T.

    1990-01-01

    Laser propulsion uses a large fixed laser to supply energy to heat an inert propellant in a rocket thruster. Such a system has two potential advantages: extreme simplicity of the thruster, and potentially high performance -- particularly high exhaust velocity. By taking advantage of the simplicity of the thruster, it should be possible to launch small (10--1000 kg) payloads to orbit using roughly 1 MW of average laser power per kg of payload. The incremental cost of such launches would be of order $200/kg for the smallest systems, decreasing to essentially the cost of electricity to run the laser (a few times $10/kg) for large systems. Although the individual payload size would be small, a laser launch system would be inherently high-volume, with the capacity to launch tens of thousands of payloads per year. Also, with high exhaust velocity, a laser launch system could launch payloads to high velocities -- geosynchronous transfer, Earth escape, or beyond -- at a relatively small premium over launches to LEO. In this paper, we briefly review the status of pulsed laser propulsion, including proposals for advanced vehicles. We then discuss qualitatively several unique applications appropriate to the early part of the next century, and perhaps valuable well into the next millenium: space habitat supply, deep space mission supply, nuclear waste disposal, and manned vehicle launching.

  17. Ground-to-orbit laser propulsion: Advanced applications

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Kare, Jordin T.

    1990-01-01

    Laser propulsion uses a large fixed laser to supply energy to heat an inert propellant in a rocket thruster. Such a system has two potential advantages: extreme simplicity of the thruster, and potentially high performance, particularly high exhaust velocity. By taking advantage of the simplicity of the thruster, it should be possible to launch small (10 to 1000 kg) payloads to orbit using roughly 1 MW of average laser power per kg of payload. The incremental cost of such launches would be of an order of $200/kg for the smallest systems, decreasing to essentially the cost of electricity to run the laser (a few times $10/kg) for larger systems. Although the individual payload size would be smaller, a laser launch system would be inherently high-volume, with the capacity to launch tens of thousands of payloads per year. Also, with high exhaust velocity, a laser launch system could launch payloads to high velocities - geosynchronous transfer, Earth escape, or beyond - at a relatively small premium over launches to LEO. The status of pulsed laser propulsion is briefly reviewed including proposals for advanced vehicles. Several applications appropriate to the early part of the next century and perhaps valuable well into the next millennium are discussed qualitatively: space habitat supply, deep space mission supply, nuclear waste disposal, and manned vehicle launching.

  18. Calibration validation for the GEOS-3 altimeter

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Martin, C. F.; Kolenkiewicz, R.

    1980-01-01

    The absolute bias calibration for the GEOS-3 intensive mode altimeter was measured using two satellite passes whose groundtracks were within 1 km of the Bermuda laser station. The Bermuda laser tracked on the two passes, and was supported by two other NASA lasers on one pass and by the NASA Spacecraft Tracking and Data Network on the other pass. For each pass, the altimeter data around Bermuda was smoothed and extrapolated to the point closest to overhead at the laser site. After correcting for tide heights and sea state effects, the two passes give calibration biases which are in agreement to within 26 cm and have a weighted mean of -5.69 + or - 0.16m for correcting altimeter measurements to the center-of-mass of the spacecraft (i.e., including the antenna tracking point correction). It was found impossible to reconcile the two calibration passes, as well as a set of altimeter crossovers in the middle of the GEOS-3 calibration area, without allowing for a data time tag error. On the bias of a selected set of four crossovers, and an assessment of probable sources of timing error, it was concluded that one interpulse period (10.24 msec) should be added to the data time tags.

  19. Orbit Determination for Mars Global Surveyor During Mapping

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Lemoine, F. G.; Rowlands, D. D.; Smith, D. E.; Pavlis, D. E.; Chinn, D. S.; Luthcke, S. B.; Neumann, G. A.

    1999-01-01

    The Mars Global Surveyor (MGS) spacecraft reached a low-altitude circular orbit on February 4, 1999, after the termination of the second phase of aerobraking. The MGS spacecraft carries the Mars Orbiter Laser Altimeter (MOLA) whose primary goal is to derive a global, geodetically referenced 0.2 deg x 0.2 deg topographic grid of Mars with a vertical accuracy of better than 30 meters. During the interim science orbits in the' Hiatus mission phase (October - November 1997), and the Science Phasing Orbits (March - April, 1998, and June - July 1998) 208 passes of altimeter data were collected by the MOLA instrument. On March 1, 1999 the first ten orbits of MOLA altimeter data from the near-circular orbit were successfully returned from MGS by the Deep Space Network (DSN). Data will be collected from MOLA throughout the Mapping phase of the MCS mission, or for at least one Mars year (687 days). Whereas the interim orbits of Hiatus and SPO were highly eccentric, and altimeter data were only collected near periapsis when the spacecraft was below 785 km, the Mapping orbit of MGS is near circular, and altimeter data will be collected continuously at a rate of 10 Hz. The proper analysis of the altimeter data requires that the orbit of the MGS spacecraft be known to an accuracy comparable to that of the quality of the altimeter data. The altimeter has an ultimate precision of 30 cm on mostly flat surfaces, so ideally the orbits of the MGS spacecraft should be known to this level. This is a stringent requirement, and more realistic goals of orbit error for MGS are ten to thirty meters. In this paper we will discuss the force and measurement modelling required to achieve this objective. Issues in force modelling include the proper modelling of the gravity field of Mars, and the modelling of non-conservatives forces, including the development of a 'macro-model', in a similar fashion to TOPEX/POSEIDON and TDRSS. During Cruise and Aerobraking, the high gain antenna (HGA) was stowed

  20. Instrument Design and In Orbit Performance of Planetary L1dars at NASA GSFC

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Sun, Xiaoli; Cavanaugh, John F.; Smith, James C.; Abshire, James B.; Neumann, Gregory A.; Smith, David E.; Zuber, Maria T.

    2012-01-01

    Space lidars provides a unique and powerful tool in earth environment monitoring and planetary exploration. Lidars operate at a much shorter wavelength than radars and can have a much narrower beam and much smaller transmitter and receiver. Lidars carry their own light sources and can continue measurement day and night, and over polar regions, where the passive instruments cannot observe. NASA Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC) has developed several space lidars, three of them on planetary missions. These were the Mars Orbiter Laser Altimeter (MOLA) on the Mars Observer and Mars Global Surveyor missions, the Mercury Laser Altimeter (MLA) on the MErcury Surface Space ENvironment, GEochemistry and Ranging (MESSENGER) mission and the Lunar Orbital Laser Altimeter (LOLA) on the Lunar Reconnaissance (LRO) mission. These lidars all use similar technologies but with major improvement from one instrument In the next in size, power, measurement capability and operating environment.

  1. Co-registration of lunar topographic models derived from Chang’E-1, SELENE, and LRO laser altimeter data based on a novel surface matchingmethod

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Wu, Bo; Guo, Jian; Hu, Han; Li, Zhilin; Chen, Yongqi

    2013-02-01

    Various lunar digital topographic models (DTMs) have been generated from the data collected from earlier and recent lunar missions. There are usually inconsistencies among them due to differences in sensor configurations, data acquisition periods, and production techniques. To obtain maximum value for science and exploration, the multi-source lunar topographic datasets must be co-registered in a common reference frame. Only such an effort will ensure the proper calibration, registration, and analysis of the datasets, which in turn will permit the full comparative and synergistic use of them. This study presents a multi-feature-based surface matching method for the co-registration of multiple lunar DTMs that incorporates feature points, lines, and surface patches in surface matching to guarantee robust surface correspondence. A combined adjustment model is developed for the determination of seven transformation parameters (one scale factor, three rotations, and three translations), from which the multiple DTMs could be co-registered. The lunar DTMs derived from the Chang’E-1, SELENE, and LRO laser altimeter data in the Apollo 15 landing area and the Sinus Iridum area are examined in this study. Small offsets were found among the Chang’E-1, SELENE, and LRO DTMs. Through experimental analysis, the developed multi-feature-based method was proven able to effectively co-register multiple lunar DTMs. The performances of the multi-feature-based surface matching method were compared with the point-based method, and the former was proven to be superior to the latter.

  2. Laser beaming demonstrations to high-orbit satellites

    SciTech Connect

    Lipinski, R.J.; Meister, D.C.; Tucker, S.

    1993-12-31

    Laser power beaming to satellites and orbital transfer vehicles requires the accurate pointing of a low-divergence laser beam to its target, whether the target is in the sunlight or the earth`s shadow. The Air Force Phillips Laboratory (AFPL) has demonstrated reduction in the image size of stars by a factor of 10 or more by using laser beacons and adaptive optics for atmospheric compensation. This same technology is applicable to reducing the divergence of laser beams propagated from earth to space. A team of Phillips Laboratory, COMSAT Laboratories, and Sandia National Laboratories plans to demonstrate the state of the art in this area with laser-beaming demonstrations to high-orbit satellites. The demonstrations will utilize the 1.5-m diameter telescope with adaptive optics at the AFPL Starfire Optical Range (SOR) and a ruby laser provided by the Air Force and Sandia (1--50 kill and 6 ms at 694.3 nm). The first targets will be corner-cube retro-reflectors left on the moon by the Apollo 11, 14, and 15 landings. We will attempt to use adaptive optics for atmospheric compensation to demonstrate accurate and reliable beam projection with a series of shots over a span of time and shot angle. We will utilize the return signal from the retro-reflectors to help determine the beam diameter on the moon and the variations in pointing accuracy caused by atmospheric tilt. This will be especially challenging because the retro-reflectors will need to be in the lunar shadow to allow detection over background light. If the results from this experiment are encouraging, we will at a later date direct the beam at a COMSAT satellite in geosynchronous orbit as it goes into the shadow of the earth. We will utilize an onboard monitor to measure the current generated in the solar panels on the satellite while the beam is present. A threshold irradiance of about 4 W/m{sup 2} on orbit is needed for this demonstration.

  3. Laser beaming demonstrations to high-orbit satellites

    SciTech Connect

    Lipinski, R.J.; Meister, D.C.; Tucker, S.

    1994-12-31

    Laser power beaming to satellites and orbital transfer vehicles requires the accurate pointing of a low-divergence laser beam to its target, whether the target is in the sunlight or the earth`s shadow. The Air Force Phillips Laboratory (AFPL) has demonstrated reduction in the image size of stars by a factor of 10 or more by using laser beacons and adaptive optics for atmospheric compensation. This same technology is applicable to reducing the divergence of laser beams propagated from earth to space. A team of Phillips Laboratory, COMSAT Laboratories, and Sandia National Laboratories plans to demonstrate the state of the art in this area with laser-beaming demonstrations to high-orbit satellites. The demonstrations will utilize the 1.5-m diameter telescope with adaptive optics at the AFPL Starfire Optical Range (SOR) and a ruby laser provided by the Air Force and Sandia (1--50 kW and 6 ms at 694.3 nm). The first targets will be corner-cube retro-reflectors left on the moon by the Apollo 11, 14, and 15 landings. The authors will attempt to use adaptive optics for atmospheric compensation to demonstrate accurate and reliable beam projection with a series of shots over a span of time and shot angle. The authors will utilize the return signal from the retro-reflectors to help determine the beam diameter on the moon and the variations in pointing accuracy caused by atmospheric tilt. This will be especially challenging because the retro-reflectors will need to be in the lunar shadow to allow detection over background light. If the results from this experiment are encouraging, the authors will at a later date direct the beam at a COMSAT satellite in geosynchronous orbit as it goes into the shadow of the earth. The authors will utilize an onboard monitor to measure the current generated in the solar panels on the satellite while the beam is present. A threshold irradiance of about 4 W/m{sup 2} on orbit is needed for this demonstration.

  4. Asteroid rotation and orbit control via laser ablation

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Vetrisano, Massimo; Colombo, Camilla; Vasile, Massimiliano

    2016-04-01

    This paper presents an approach to control the rotational motion of an asteroid while a spacecraft is deflecting its trajectory through laser ablation. During the deflection, the proximity motion of the spacecraft is coupled with the orbital and rotational motion of the asteroid. The combination of the deflection acceleration, solar radiation pressure, gravity field and plume impingement will force the spacecraft to drift away from the asteroid. In turn, a variation of the motion of the spacecraft produces a change in the modulus and direction of the deflection action which modifies the rotational and orbital motion of the asteroid. An on-board state estimation and control algorithm is then presented that simultaneously provides an optimal proximity control and a control of the rotational motion of the asteroid. It will be shown that the simultaneous control of the rotational and proximity motions of asteroid and spacecraft has a significant impact on the required deflection time.

  5. Laser altimetry at the centimeter-level

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kallenbach, R.; Koch, C.; Christensen, U.; Hilchenbach, M.; Michaelis, H.; Kracht, D.

    2007-08-01

    Laser altimetry is a powerful tool to map planetary surfaces. In addition to the static topography, time-dependent variations such as libration and tidal elevation can be extracted from laser altimeter data in order to investigate the internal structure of the planetary body. In the frame of the BepiColombo Laser Altimeter project, simulations on the extraction of the tidal amplitude on Mercury's surface due to the solar gravitation have been carried out. Based on these results, we evaluate the instrument requirements for a laser altimeter that orbits Jupiter's moon Europa. The tidal bulges of Europa's ice crust should be as high as 30 m, if there is a subsurface ocean, but less than 1 m, if there is solid ice all the way down to the bedrock. The measurement precision achievable with an altimeter applying a miniaturized diode laser-pumped Nd:YAG laser and a single photon counting technique is explored, and the potentials of the integration of the laser altimeter with a high-resolution camera are discussed.

  6. Participation of D.O. Muhleman as a Co-Investigator on the Mars Observer Laser Altimeter (MOLA) Team

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Muhleman, Duane O.

    2004-01-01

    The Co-I has been a principle member of the MOLA Team since the beginning of the Mars Observer Project and the MOLA Team formation. The basic area of research for the Co-I involved the interactions of the MOLA laser beam with the Mars atmosphere, ice fields and surface in general. The Co-I was assisted by one graduate student, and later a research assistant, Anton Ivanov, throughout the reporting period. Dr. Ivanov received a PhD from Caltech in 2000 from research involving the MOLA project. Dr. Ivanov continued with the MOLA project after receiving his degree as a research assistant to Professor Muhleman. Most of the funding from this grant was used to support Dr. Ivanov during the later years. The primary results of these investigations included the measurement of Mars atmospheric opacity at the 1 micron wavelength of the laser, the effects of dust within the craters and canyons of Mars, and a detailed study of the North Polar Ice Cap in terms of ice sublimation and the current structure of that ice cap. We were able to show that the sublimation of the ice on the polar cap would create the current average shape of the norther cap. Extensive data collection and study were made of the Mars surface 1 micron reflectivity until the laser mechanically failed during the reporting period. Reflectivity maps of Mars were produced although there were serious problems of the laser echo signal strength calibration. After that event the efforts were mainly to complete the older investigations. All of the work supported by this grant was theoretical in nature and did not lead to any patents.

  7. Biomass accumulation rates of Amazonian secondary forest and biomass of old-growth forests from Landsat time series and the Geoscience Laser Altimeter System

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Helmer, Eileen H.; Lefsky, Michael A.; Roberts, Dar A.

    2009-01-01

    We estimate the age of humid lowland tropical forests in Rondônia, Brazil, from a somewhat densely spaced time series of Landsat images (1975-2003) with an automated procedure, the Threshold Age Mapping Algorithm (TAMA), first described here. We then estimate a landscape-level rate of aboveground woody biomass accumulation of secondary forest by combining forest age mapping with biomass estimates from the Geoscience Laser Altimeter System (GLAS). Though highly variable, the estimated average biomass accumulation rate of 8.4 Mg ha-1 yr-1 agrees well with ground-based studies for young secondary forests in the region. In isolating the lowland forests, we map land cover and general types of old-growth forests with decision tree classification of Landsat imagery and elevation data. We then estimate aboveground live biomass for seven classes of old-growth forest. TAMA is simple, fast, and self-calibrating. By not using between-date band or index differences or trends, it requires neither image normalization nor atmospheric correction. In addition, it uses an approach to map forest cover for the self-calibrations that is novel to forest mapping with satellite imagery; it maps humid secondary forest that is difficult to distinguish from old-growth forest in single-date imagery; it does not assume that forest age equals time since disturbance; and it incorporates Landsat Multispectral Scanner imagery. Variations on the work that we present here can be applied to other forested landscapes. Applications that use image time series will be helped by the free distribution of coregistered Landsat imagery, which began in December 2008, and of the Ice Cloud and land Elevation Satellite Vegetation Product, which simplifies the use of GLAS data. Finally, we demonstrate here for the first time how the optical imagery of fine spatial resolution that is viewable on Google Earth provides a new source of reference data for remote sensing applications related to land cover.

  8. Status of Precise Orbit Determination for Jason-2 Using GPS

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Melachroinos, S.; Lemoine, F. G.; Zelensky, N. P.; Rowlands, D. D.; Pavlis, D. E.

    2011-01-01

    The JASON-2 satellite, launched in June 2008, is the latest follow-on to the successful TOPEX/Poseidon (T/P) and JASON-I altimetry missions. JASON-2 is equipped with a TRSR Blackjack GPS dual-frequency receiver, a laser retroreflector array, and a DORIS receiver for precise orbit determination (POD). The most recent time series of orbits computed at NASA GSFC, based on SLR/DORIS data have been completed using both ITRF2005 and ITRF2008. These orbits have been shown to agree radially at 1 cm RMS for dynamic vs SLRlDORIS reduced-dynamic orbits and in comparison with orbits produced by other analysis centers (Lemoine et al., 2010; Zelensky et al., 2010; Cerri et al., 2010). We have recently upgraded the GEODYN software to implement model improvements for GPS processing. We describe the implementation of IGS standards to the Jason2 GEODYN GPS processing, and other dynamical and measurement model improvements. Our GPS-only JASON-2 orbit accuracy is assessed using a number of tests including analysis of independent SLR and altimeter crossover residuals, orbit overlap differences, and direct comparison to orbits generated at GSFC using SLR and DORIS tracking, and to orbits generated externally at other centers. Tests based on SLR and the altimeter crossover residuals provide the best performance indicator for independent validation of the NASAlGSFC GPS-only reduced dynamic orbits. For the ITRF2005 and ITRF2008 implementation of our GPS-only obits we are using the IGS05 and IGS08 standards. Reduced dynamic versus dynamic orbit differences are used to characterize the remaining force model error and TRF instability. We evaluate the GPS vs SLR & DORIS orbits produced using the GEODYN software and assess in particular their consistency radially and the stability of the altimeter satellite reference frame in the Z direction for both ITRF2005 and ITRF2008 as a proxy to assess the consistency of the reference frame for altimeter satellite POD.

  9. Comparison of the HY-2 Against Envisat Altimeter Data and their Applications in the China Seas

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Cui, Wei; Yang, Jungang; Zhao, Xinhua; Martinez, Bernat

    2014-11-01

    The Chinese HY-2 satellite was launched on 16 August 2011, and its altimeter worked in orbit nearly six months simultaneously with ESA ENVISAT RA-2 satellite altimeter. In order to verify the observation precision and the application capabilities of HY-2 altimeter, this paper carries out the sea surface height(SSH)and the significant wave height(SWH) comparison of HY-2 and ENVISAT RA-2 altimeter respectively, and illustrates their applications on sea level change and ocean waves distribution in the China Seas. The results show that the SSH and SWH data of HY-2 and ENVISAT RA-2 crossovers is basically conformance, respectively, and the SLA and SWH spatial distributions of HY-2 show good agreement with ENVISAT RA-2 results. Furthermore, based on the two altimeter data during they were in orbit simultaneously sea level change and ocean waves distribution of the China Seas are analyzed for the application capabilities examination of HY-2 altimeter.

  10. Altimeter measurements for the determination of the Earth's gravity field

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Tapley, B. D.; Schutz, B. E.; Shum, C. K.

    1987-01-01

    The ability of satellite-borne radar altimeter data to measure the global ocean surface with high precision and dense spatial coverage provides a unique tool for the mapping of the Earth's gravity field and its geoid. The altimeter crossover measurements, created by differencing direct altimeter measurements at the subsatellite points where the orbit ground tracks intersect, have the distinct advantage of eliminating geoid error and other nontemporal or long period oceanographic features. In the 1990's, the joint U.S./French TOPEX/POSEIDON mission and the European Space Agency's ERS-1 mission will carry radar altimeter instruments capable of global ocean mapping with high precision. This investigation aims at the development and application of dynamically consistent direct altimeter and altimeter crossover measurement models to the simultaneous mapping of the Earth's gravity field and its geoid, the ocean tides and the quasi-stationary component of the dynamic sea surface topography. Altimeter data collected by SEASAT, GEOS-3, and GEOSAT are used for the investigation.

  11. Global Geometric Properties of Martian Impact Craters: An Assessment from Mars Orbiter Laser Altimeter (MOLA) Digital Elevation Models

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Garvin, J. B.; Frawley, J. J.; Sakimoto, S. E. H.; Schnetzler, C.

    2000-01-01

    Global geometric characteristics of topographically fresh impact craters have been assessed, for the first time, from gridded MOLA topography. Global trends of properties such as depth/diameter differ from previous estimates. Regional differences are observed.

  12. Using Mars Orbiter Laser Altimeter (MOLA) Data to Assess Impact Crater Modification in the Arrhenius Region of Mars

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Garvin, J. B.; Grosfils, E. B.; Sakimoto, S. E. H.

    2000-01-01

    This study combines MOLA altimetry with photographic imagery to begin assessing the extent to which sedimentary and volcanic processes have affected impact crater morphology in the Arrhenius region of Mars.

  13. North Polar Region of Mars: Topography of Circumpolar Deposits and Sediments Based on Mars Orbiter Laser Altimeter (MOLA) Data

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Fishbaugh, K. E.; Head, J. W., III

    1999-03-01

    New topography data are interpreted to indicate that Olympia Planitia overlies ice, mantled cratered plains underlie mantled smooth plains, the cap was once larger, and significant circumpolar sediments originated from previous polar deposits.

  14. Oceans in the past history of Mars: Tests for their presence using Mars Orbiter Laser Altimeter (MOLA) data

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Head, James W., III; Kreslavsky, Mikhail; Hiesinger, Harald; Ivanov, Mikhail; Pratt, Stephen; Seibert, Nicole; Smith, David E.; Zuber, Maria T.

    1998-12-01

    An ancient north polar ocean on Mars has been proposed [Parker et al., 1989] and we use MOLA data to test the hypothesis. Of the two proposed contacts/shorelines, the younger Contact 2 shows the closest approximation to an equipotential surface; vertical variations along this surface occur in areas with post-contact-formation geological activity or suspected changes in the position of an equipotential surface (e.g., Tharsis) with time. The surface of Mars is smoother at all scales below Contact 2 than above. The volume of the region below Contact 2 (˜1.5×107 km³) is between the minimum estimated total outflow channel discharge and the maximum estimated megaregolith pore space. These results are consistent with the hypothesis that a large standing body of water occupied the northern lowlands in the past history of Mars.

  15. Global anomaly and undulation recovery using GEOS-3 altimeter data

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Rapp, R. H.

    1979-01-01

    The data were adjusted to remove orbit error and altimeter bias in a primary adjustment and four regional adjustments. The root mean square crossover discrepancy was about + or - 55 cm after the adjustment. The adjusted altimeter data, now considered to give geoid undulations, was used to predict values at 1 deg intersections from which an oceanic geoid map, with predicted accuracies, was prepared at a two meter contour interval. This geoid was compared to the Gemini 9 geoid over very long profiles to examine the long wavelength error in the altimeter geoid. At a wavelength of 13,010 km the root mean squares difference was 57 cm. The altimeter geoid was also compared to altimeter geoids fixed by precise orbits. A root mean square difference was found of about 1 m with a systematic difference that implied the equatorial radius of the earth was 6,378,137 meters. The adjusted altimeter data was also used to determine a total of 29,479 1 deg x 1 deg anomalies (and undulations).

  16. Demonstration of orbit determination for the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter using one-way laser ranging data

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bauer, S.; Hussmann, H.; Oberst, J.; Dirkx, D.; Mao, D.; Neumann, G. A.; Mazarico, E.; Torrence, M. H.; McGarry, J. F.; Smith, D. E.; Zuber, M. T.

    2016-09-01

    We used one-way laser ranging data from International Laser Ranging Service (ILRS) ground stations to NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) for a demonstration of orbit determination. In the one-way setup, the state of LRO and the parameters of the spacecraft and all involved ground station clocks must be estimated simultaneously. This setup introduces many correlated parameters that are resolved by using a priori constraints. Moreover the observation data coverage and errors accumulating from the dynamical and the clock modeling limit the maximum arc length. The objective of this paper is to investigate the effect of the arc length, the dynamical and modeling accuracy and the observation data coverage on the accuracy of the results. We analyzed multiple arcs using lengths of 2 and 7 days during a one-week period in Science Mission phase 02 (SM02, November 2010) and compared the trajectories, the post-fit measurement residuals and the estimated clock parameters. We further incorporated simultaneous passes from multiple stations within the observation data to investigate the expected improvement in positioning. The estimated trajectories were compared to the nominal LRO trajectory and the clock parameters (offset, rate and aging) to the results found in the literature. Arcs estimated with one-way ranging data had differences of 5-30 m compared to the nominal LRO trajectory. While the estimated LRO clock rates agreed closely with the a priori constraints, the aging parameters absorbed clock modeling errors with increasing clock arc length. Because of high correlations between the different ground station clocks and due to limited clock modeling accuracy, their differences only agreed at the order of magnitude with the literature. We found that the incorporation of simultaneous passes requires improved modeling in particular to enable the expected improvement in positioning. We found that gaps in the observation data coverage over 12 h (≈6 successive LRO orbits

  17. Space Debris-de-Orbiting by Vaporization Impulse using Short Pulse Laser

    SciTech Connect

    Early, J; Bibeau, C; Claude, P

    2003-09-16

    Space debris constitutes a significant hazard to low earth orbit satellites and particularly to manned spacecraft. A quite small velocity decrease from vaporization impulses is enough to lower the perigee of the debris sufficiently for atmospheric drag to de-orbit the debris. A short pulse (picosecond) laser version of the Orion concept can accomplish this task in several years of operation. The ''Mercury'' short pulse Yb:S-FAP laser being developed at LLNL for laser fusion is appropriate for this task.

  18. Simultaneous Laser Ranging and Communication from an Earth-Based Satellite Laser Ranging Station to the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter in Lunar Orbit

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Sun, Xiaoli; Skillman, David R.; Hoffman, Evan D.; Mao, Dandan; McGarry, Jan F.; Neumann, Gregory A.; McIntire, Leva; Zellar, Ronald S.; Davidson, Frederic M.; Fong, Wai H.; Krainak, Michael A.; Zuber, Maria T.; Smith, David E.

    2013-01-01

    We report a free space laser communication experiment from the satellite laser ranging (SLR) station at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC) to the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) in lunar orbit through the on board one-way Laser Ranging (LR) receiver. Pseudo random data and sample image files were transmitted to LRO using a 4096-ary pulse position modulation (PPM) signal format. Reed-Solomon forward error correction codes were used to achieve error free data transmission at a moderate coding overhead rate. The signal fading due to the atmosphere effect was measured and the coding gain could be estimated.

  19. Simultaneous laser ranging and communication from an Earth-based satellite laser ranging station to the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter in lunar orbit

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Sun, Xiaoli; Skillman, David R.; Hoffman, Evan D.; Mao, Dandan; McGarry, Jan F.; Neumann, Gregory A.; McIntire, Leva; Zellar, Ronald S.; Davidson, Frederic M.; Fong, Wai H.; Krainak, Michael A.; Zuber, Maria T.; Smith, David E.

    2013-03-01

    We report a free space laser communication experiment from the satellite laser ranging (SLR) station at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC) to the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) in lunar orbit through the on board one-way Laser Ranging (LR) receiver. Pseudo random data and sample image files were transmitted to LRO using a 4096-ary pulse position modulation (PPM) signal format. Reed-Solomon forward error correction codes were used to achieve error free data transmission at a moderate coding overhead rate. The signal fading due to the atmosphere effect was measured and the coding gain could be estimated.

  20. A Simulation Study of Multi-Beam Altimetry for Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter and Other Planetary Missions

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Rowlands, D. D.; Lemoine, F. G.; Chinn, D. S.; Luthcke, S. B.

    2009-01-01

    The combined use of altimetry, Earth-based Doppler and Earth-based range measurements in the lunar reconnaissance orbiter (LRO) mission (Chin et al. in Space Sci Rev 129:391-419, 2007) has been examined in a simulation study. It is found that in the initial phases of the mission orbit and altimeter geolocation accuracies should be better than 10m in the radial component and 60m overall. It is demonstrated that LRO's precise 1-way laser range measurement from Earth-based stations (Smith et al. in Proceedings of the 15th International Laser Ranging Workshop, Canberra, Australia, October 15-20, 2006) will be useful for gravity recovery. The advantages of multiple laser beams are demonstrated for altimeter calibration, orbit determination and gravity recovery in general planetary settings as well as for LRO.

  1. Effects of tropospheric and ionospheric refraction errors in the utilization of GEOS-C altimeter data

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Goad, C. C.

    1977-01-01

    The effects of tropospheric and ionospheric refraction errors are analyzed for the GEOS-C altimeter project in terms of their resultant effects on C-band orbits and the altimeter measurement itself. Operational procedures using surface meteorological measurements at ground stations and monthly means for ocean surface conditions are assumed, with no corrections made for ionospheric effects. Effects on the orbit height due to tropospheric errors are approximately 15 cm for single pass short arcs (such as for calibration) and 10 cm for global orbits of one revolution. Orbit height errors due to neglect of the ionosphere have an amplitude of approximately 40 cm when the orbits are determined from C-band range data with predominantly daylight tracking. Altimeter measurement errors are approximately 10 cm due to residual tropospheric refraction correction errors. Ionospheric effects on the altimeter range measurement are also on the order of 10 cm during the GEOS-C launch and early operation period.

  2. A Study on Along-Track and Cross-Track Noise of Altimetry Data by Maximum Likelihood: Mars Orbiter Laser Altimetry (Mola) Example

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Jarmołowski, Wojciech; Łukasiak, Jacek

    2015-12-01

    The work investigates the spatial correlation of the data collected along orbital tracks of Mars Orbiter Laser Altimeter (MOLA) with a special focus on the noise variance problem in the covariance matrix. The problem of different correlation parameters in along-track and crosstrack directions of orbital or profile data is still under discussion in relation to Least Squares Collocation (LSC). Different spacing in along-track and transverse directions and anisotropy problem are frequently considered in the context of this kind of data. Therefore the problem is analyzed in this work, using MOLA data samples. The analysis in this paper is focused on a priori errors that correspond to the white noise present in the data and is performed by maximum likelihood (ML) estimation in two, perpendicular directions. Additionally, correlation lengths of assumed planar covariance model are determined by ML and by fitting it into the empirical covariance function (ECF). All estimates considered together confirm substantial influence of different data resolution in along-track and transverse directions on the covariance parameters.

  3. Orbital analysis of two-color laser ranging

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Schillak, S. R.

    2013-12-01

    The poster presents the results of analysis of Zimmerwald SLR data for two colors 423nm and 846 nm. Two-color laser ranging were performed by Zimmerwald SLR station from August 2002 to January 2008. The results in each color were treated as two independent stations 7810 Blue and 7810 Infrared. The station positions were determined by NASA Goddard's orbital program GEODYN-II from results of LAGEOS-1 and LAGEOS-2 satellites. The NEU positions stability were equal to 3.5 mm (N), 3.2 mm (E), 16.5 mm (U) for blue and 3.2 mm (N), 2.9 mm (E), 14.6 (U) for infrared. In the period of study were 47 common monthly points for both colors. The difference between N, E, U components in blue and infrared for common points were equal to 0.8×2.0 mm, 0.4×1.9 mm and -4.8×8.7 mm respectively. The differences between Range Biases for both colors independently for LAGEOS-1 and LAGEOS-2 were equal to -5.7×8.6 mm and for -5.0×9.5 mm respectively. The same for both satellites annual wave with amplitude 10 mm was detected. This effect can to be explain by differences in atmospheric correction for each color. This same analysis for station Concepcion (7405) couldn't to be performed due to only 8 common points. In future very important should be laser ranging in two-colors 532 nm and 1064 nm for confirmation presented here results, especially that a new sensitive APD detectors for 1064 nm are now available. The atmospheric correction is critical for SLR accuracy upgrading.

  4. Determination of the geoid from satellite altimeter data

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Brown, R. D.

    1972-01-01

    The characteristics of the geoid surface are quantitatively described. A procedure for calculating the satellite altitude is developed. Error sources are described quantitatively, mathematically modeled, and evaluated in computer simulation. Procedures for maximum likelihood processing of altimeter data for recovery of orbit and geopotential information are presented for several geopotential models.

  5. Precision Orbit Determination for the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter: orbit quality and gravity field estimation

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Mazarico, E.; Rowlands, D. D.; Neumann, G. A.; Lemoine, F. G.; Torrence, M. H.; Smith, D. E.; Zuber, M. T.; Mao, D.

    2010-12-01

    We present results of the Precision Orbit Determination work undertaken by the Lunar Orbiter Laser Altimeter (LOLA) Science Team for the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) mission, in order to meet the position knowledge accuracy requirements (50-m total position) and to precisely geolocate the LRO datasets. In addition to the radiometric tracking data, one-way laser ranges (LR) between Earth stations and the spacecraft are made possible by a small telescope mounted on the spacecraft high-gain antenna. The photons received from Earth are transmitted to one LOLA detector by a fiber optics bundle. The LOLA timing system enables 5-s LR normal points with precision better than 10cm. Other types of geodetic constraints are derived from the altimetric data itself. The orbit geometry can be constrained at the times of laser groundtrack intersections (crossovers). Due to the Moon's slow rotation, orbit solutions and normal equations including altimeter crossovers are processed and created in one month batches. Recent high-resolution topographic maps near the lunar poles are used to produce a new kind of geodetic constraints. Purely geometric, those do not necessitate actual groundtrack intersections. We assess the contributions of those data types, and the quality of our orbits. Solutions which use altimetric crossover meet the horizontal 50-m requirement, and perform usually better (10-20m). We also obtain gravity field solutions based on LRO and historical data. The various LRO data are accumulated into normal equations, separately for each one month batch and for each measurement type, which enables the final weights to be adjusted during the least-squares inversion step. Expansion coefficients to degree and order 150 are estimated, and a Kaula rule is still needed to stabilize the farside field. The gravity field solutions are compared to previous solutions (GLGM-3, LP150Q, SGM100h) and the geopotential predicted from the latest LOLA spherical harmonic expansion.

  6. The satellite altimeter as a platform for observation of the oceanic mesoscale

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Mitchell, J. L.

    1984-01-01

    The use of the satellite radar altimeter as a platform to provide synoptic monitoring of the oceanic mesoscale is faced with two critical issues: removal of geoid error or contamination and election of optimum space/time sampling strategies. Long wavelength orbit determination errors are not critical problems for altimeter measurements of the basin scale circulation. Both issues are addressed within the constraints provided by orbital mechanics which dictates the laydown pattern of the satellite's groundtracks in space/time. Other issues which must be assessed are: adequate mission duration scales and the problems of geophysical noise sources and instrumental noise which degrade the effective alongtrack spatial resolution of the altimeter.

  7. Laser sculpting of atomic sp, sp(2) , and sp(3) hybrid orbitals.

    PubMed

    Liu, Chunmei; Manz, Jörn; Yang, Yonggang

    2015-01-12

    Atomic sp, sp(2) , and sp(3) hybrid orbitals were introduced by Linus Pauling to explain the nature of the chemical bond. Quantum dynamics simulations show that they can be sculpted by means of a selective series of coherent laser pulses, starting from the 1s orbital of the hydrogen atom. Laser hybridization generates atoms with state-selective electric dipoles, opening up new possibilities for the study of chemical reaction dynamics and heterogeneous catalysis. PMID:25257703

  8. In-orbit test, verification and surveillance of the laser communication system

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Sun, Jianfeng; Wang, Biao; Fei, Ligang; Zhang, Changquan; Liu, Liren

    2015-10-01

    To perform the in-orbit test, verification and surveillance task, the laser simulation and test station must be constructed. Cooperated with the fixed laser communication ground station, we can not only test the main specifications of the laser communication terminals, but also test the performances of the laser backbone link. In this paper, we first give the basic theory of the in-orbit test. Then designed the laser simulation and test station, which consists of laser transmitter module, laser receiver module, and general test module. In the GEO-to-LEO laser communication terminal test progress, the laser simulation and test station responsible for the simulation of the LEO laser communication terminal. In the LEO-GEO-Ground laser link performance test progress, the laser simulation and test station simulate the LEO satellite, which transfer high date rate data flow to GEO satellite, then the GEO satellite route the data flow to the GEO-to-Ground laser communication terminal through optical router, finally GEO satellite transfer the LEO data down to fixed laser receiver on ground.

  9. Spaceborne laser instruments for high-resolution mapping

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Yu, Anthony W.; Krainak, Michael A.; Harding, David J.; Abshire, James B.; Sun, Xiaoli; Valett, Susan; Cavanaugh, John; Ramos-Izquierdo, Luis

    2010-02-01

    We discuss past, present and future spaceborne laser instruments for high-resolution mapping of Earth and planetary surfaces. Previous spaceborne-laser-altimeters projected and imaged a single laser spot for surface-height measurements. In contrast, the recent Lunar Orbiter Laser Altimeter (LOLA) instrument on the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) uses a non-scanning multi-beam system for surface topography mapping. The multi-beam instrument facilitates surface slope measurement and reduces the time-to-completion for global high-resolution topographic mapping. We discuss our first-year progress on a three-year swath-mapping laser-altimetry Instrument Incubator Program (IIP) funded by the NASA Earth Science Technology Office (ESTO). Our IIP is a technology development program supporting the LIdar Surface Topography (LIST) space-flight mission that is a third-tier mission as recommended by the National Research Council (NRC) for NASA's Earth Science programs.

  10. Orbit Determination of the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Mazarico, Erwan; Rowlands, D. D.; Neumann, G. A.; Smith, D. E.; Torrence, M. H.; Lemoine, F. G.; Zuber, M. T.

    2011-01-01

    We present the results on precision orbit determination from the radio science investigation of the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) spacecraft. We describe the data, modeling and methods used to achieve position knowledge several times better than the required 50-100m (in total position), over the period from 13 July 2009 to 31 January 2011. In addition to the near-continuous radiometric tracking data, we include altimetric data from the Lunar Orbiter Laser Altimeter (LOLA) in the form of crossover measurements, and show that they strongly improve the accuracy of the orbit reconstruction (total position overlap differences decrease from approx.70m to approx.23 m). To refine the spacecraft trajectory further, we develop a lunar gravity field by combining the newly acquired LRO data with the historical data. The reprocessing of the spacecraft trajectory with that model shows significantly increased accuracy (approx.20m with only the radiometric data, and approx.14m with the addition of the altimetric crossovers). LOLA topographic maps and calibration data from the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Camera were used to supplement the results of the overlap analysis and demonstrate the trajectory accuracy.

  11. New Radar Altimeter Missions are Providing a Dramatically Sharper Image of Global Marine Tectonics

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Sandwell, D. T.; Müller, D.; Garcia, E.; Matthews, K. J.; Smith, W. H. F.; Zaron, E.; Zhang, S.; Bassett, D.; Francis, R.

    2015-12-01

    Marine gravity, derived from satellite radar altimetry, is a powerful tool for mapping tectonic structures, especially in the deep ocean basins where the topography remains unmapped by ships or is buried by thick sediment. The ability to infer seafloor tectonics from space was first demonstrated in 1978 using Seasat altimeter data but the spatial coverage was incomplete because of the short three-month lifetime of the satellite. Most ocean altimeters have repeat ground tracks with spacings of hundreds of kilometers so they do not resolve tectonic structures. Adequate altimeter coverage became available in 1995 when the United States Navy declassified the Geosat radar altimeter data and the ERS-1 altimeter completed a 1-year mapping phase. These mid-1990's altimeter-derived images of the ocean basins remained static for 15 years because there were no new non-repeat altimeter missions. This situation changed dramatically in 2010 when CryoSat-2, with its advanced radar altimeter, was launched into a non-repeat orbit and continues to collect data until perhaps 2020. In addition the Jason-1 altimeter was placed into a 14-month geodetic phase at the end of its lifetime. More recently the 1.5 times higher precision measurements from the AltiKa altimeter aboard the SARAL spacecraft began to drift away from its 35-day repeat trackline. The Chinese HY-2 altimeter is scheduled to begin a dense mapping phase in early 2016. Moreover in 2020 we may enjoy significantly higher resolution maps of the ocean basins from the planned SWOT altimeter mission with its advanced swath mapping ability. All of this new data will provide a much sharper image of the tectonics of the deep ocean basins and continental margins. During this talk we will tour of the new tectonic structures revealed by CryoSat-2 and Jason-1 and speculate on the tectonic views of the ocean basins in 2020 and beyond.

  12. Seasat altimeter height calibration. [related to sea surface heights near bermuda

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Kolenkiewicz, R.; Martin, C. F.

    1981-01-01

    The Seasat altimeter was calibrated for height bias using four overflight passes of Bermuda which were supported by the Bermuda laser. The altimeter data was corrected for: tides, using recorded tide gauge data; propagation effects, using meteorological data taken around the time of each pass; acceleration lag; and sea state bias, including both surface effects and instrumental effects. Altimeter data for each of the four passes was smoothed and extrapolated across the island. Interpolation between passes then produced an equivalent altimeter measurement to the geoid at the laser site, so that the altimeter bias could be estimated without the use of a geoid model. The estimated height bias was 0.0 + or - 0.07.

  13. High Resolution Surface Geometry and Albedo by Combining Laser Altimetry and Visible Images

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Morris, Robin D.; vonToussaint, Udo; Cheeseman, Peter C.; Clancy, Daniel (Technical Monitor)

    2001-01-01

    The need for accurate geometric and radiometric information over large areas has become increasingly important. Laser altimetry is one of the key technologies for obtaining this geometric information. However, there are important application areas where the observing platform has its orbit constrained by the other instruments it is carrying, and so the spatial resolution that can be recorded by the laser altimeter is limited. In this paper we show how information recorded by one of the other instruments commonly carried, a high-resolution imaging camera, can be combined with the laser altimeter measurements to give a high resolution estimate both of the surface geometry and its reflectance properties. This estimate has an accuracy unavailable from other interpolation methods. We present the results from combining synthetic laser altimeter measurements on a coarse grid with images generated from a surface model to re-create the surface model.

  14. How key periodic orbits drive recollisions in a circularly polarized laser field.

    PubMed

    Kamor, A; Mauger, F; Chandre, C; Uzer, T

    2013-06-21

    We show that a family of key periodic orbits drives the recollision process in a strong circularly polarized laser field. These orbits, coined recolliding periodic orbits, exist for a wide range of parameters, and their relative influence changes as the laser and atomic parameters are varied. We find the necessary conditions for recollision-driven nonsequential double ionization to occur. The outlined mechanism is universal in that it applies equally well beyond atoms: The internal structure of the target species plays a minor role in the recollision process. PMID:23829734

  15. Laser ranging network performance and routine orbit determination at D-PAF

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Massmann, Franz-Heinrich; Reigber, C.; Li, H.; Koenig, Rolf; Raimondo, J. C.; Rajasenan, C.; Vei, M.

    1993-01-01

    ERS-1 is now about 8 months in orbit and has been tracked by the global laser network from the very beginning of the mission. The German processing and archiving facility for ERS-1 (D-PAF) is coordinating and supporting the network and performing the different routine orbit determination tasks. This paper presents details about the global network status, the communication to D-PAF and the tracking data and orbit processing system at D-PAF. The quality of the preliminary and precise orbits are shown and some problem areas are identified.

  16. NOSS Altimeter Detailed Algorithm specifications

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Hancock, D. W.; Mcmillan, J. D.

    1982-01-01

    The details of the algorithms and data sets required for satellite radar altimeter data processing are documented in a form suitable for (1) development of the benchmark software and (2) coding the operational software. The algorithms reported in detail are those established for altimeter processing. The algorithms which required some additional development before documenting for production were only scoped. The algorithms are divided into two levels of processing. The first level converts the data to engineering units and applies corrections for instrument variations. The second level provides geophysical measurements derived from altimeter parameters for oceanographic users.

  17. Lasers in Earth and Planetary Exploration

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Smith, David E.

    1998-01-01

    For over 3 decades, lasers have been a tool of the space programs of the world for accomplishing a variety of engineering and scientific objectives. The majority of these uses have, however, been largely Earth-based and only a few lasers have actually been flown and operated in Earth orbit and even fewer on missions to the planets. However, in the last few years laser altimeters, lidars, and ranging systems have been part of space missions to the moon, an asteroid, and Mars; and more are planned and contemplated in the future exploration of the Earth and solar system. Early in 1994, the Clementine mission was launched to the moon and carried a laser altimeter that made the first systematic topographic survey of the moon during its 2-month observation period. This mission significantly improved our understanding of the shape and topography of the moon and along with gravity information obtained from the tracking data modified some of our thinking about the moon, the thickness of ice crust and the isostatic state of the highlands and basins. On September 11, 1997, the Mars Global Surveyor (MGS) entered into orbit around Mars and the Mars Orbiter Laser Altimeter (MOLA) started to map the topography of the planet to unprecedented accuracy. On its first pass across the planet, MOLA showed large areas of the northern hemisphere to be flatter than any other known surface on Earth or any other body explored to date. In January 1999, the NEAR spacecraft which carries a laser ranger (NLR), will arrive at the S-type asteroid, Eros, and during the following year the NLR will help determine the shape and rotational dynamics of this asteroid. In the Spring of 2000, the Vegetation Canopy Lidar (VCL) mission will be launched and employing a multi-beam laser altimeter (MBLA) will measure the Earth's tree canopy shapes and heights and begin to globally monitor the biomass. The following year, in 2001, the Geoscience Laser Altimeter System, which carries a 2 wavelength laser

  18. Comment on satellite altimeter data

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Bowin, C.

    1974-01-01

    SKYLAB mission SEASAT-B altimeter observations in combination with surface gravity measurements provide useful data on the marine geoid and expected ocean perturbations from analyses of seamount structures.

  19. The Sonic Altimeter for Aircraft

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Draper, C S

    1937-01-01

    Discussed here are results already achieved with sonic altimeters in light of the theoretical possibilities of such instruments. From the information gained in this investigation, a procedure is outlined to determine whether or not a further development program is justified by the value of the sonic altimeter as an aircraft instrument. The information available in the literature is reviewed and condensed into a summary of sonic altimeter developments. Various methods of receiving the echo and timing the interval between the signal and the echo are considered. A theoretical discussion is given of sonic altimeter errors due to uncertainties in timing, variations in sound velocity, aircraft speed, location of the sending and receiving units, and inclinations of the flight path with respect to the ground surface. Plots are included which summarize the results in each case. An analysis is given of the effect of an inclined flight path on the frequency of the echo. A brief study of the acoustical phases of the sonic altimeter problem is carried through. The results of this analysis are used to predict approximately the maximum operating altitudes of a reasonably designed sonic altimeter under very good and very bad conditions. A final comparison is made between the estimated and experimental maximum operating altitudes which shows good agreement where quantitative information is available.

  20. A geopotential model from satellite tracking, altimeter, and surface gravity data: GEM-T3

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Lerch, F. J.; Nerem, R. S.; Putney, B. H.; Felsentreger, T. L.; Sanchez, B. V.; Marshall, J. A.; Klosko, S. M.; Patel, G. B.; Williamson, R. G.; Chinn, D. S.

    1994-01-01

    An improved model of Earth's gravitational field, Goddard Earth Model T-3 (GEM-T3), has been developed from a combination of satellite tracking, satellite altimeter, and surface gravimetric data. GEM-T3 provides a significant improvement in the modeling of the gravity field at half wavelengths of 400 km and longer. This model, complete to degree and order 50, yields more accurate satellite orbits and an improved geoid representation than previous Goddard Earth Models. GEM-T3 uses altimeter data from GEOS 3 (1975-1976), Seasat (1978) and Geosat (1986-1987). Tracking information used in the solution includes more than 1300 arcs of data encompassing 31 different satellites. The recovery of the long-wavelength components of the solution relies mostly on highly precise satellite laser ranging (SLR) data, but also includes Tracking Network (TRANET) Doppler, optical, and satellite-to-satellite tracking acquired between the ATS 6 and GEOS 3 satellites. The main advances over GEM-T2 (beyond the inclusion of altimeter and surface gravity information which is essential for the resolution of the shorter wavelength geoid) are some improved tracking data analysis approaches and additional SLR data. Although the use of altimeter data has greatly enhanced the modeling of the ocean geoid between 65 deg N and 60 deg S latitudes in GEM-T3, the lack of accurate detailed surface gravimetry leaves poor geoid resolution over many continental regions of great tectonic interest (e.g., Himalayas, Andes). Estimates of polar motion, tracking station coordinates, and long-wavelength ocean tidal terms were also made (accounting for 6330 parameters). GEM-T3 has undergone error calibration using a technique based on subset solutions to produce reliable error estimates. The calibration is based on the condition that the expected mean square deviation of a subset gravity solution from the full set values is predicted by the solutions' error covariances. Data weights are iteratively adjusted until

  1. Laser ranging with the MéO telescope to improve orbital accuracy of space debris

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hennegrave, L.; Pyanet, M.; Haag, H.; Blanchet, G.; Esmiller, B.; Vial, S.; Samain, E.; Paris, J.; Albanese, D.

    2013-05-01

    Improving orbital accuracy of space debris is one of the major prerequisite to performing reliable collision prediction in low earth orbit. The objective is to avoid false alarms and useless maneuvers for operational satellites. This paper shows how laser ranging on debris can improve the accuracy of orbit determination. In March 2012 a joint OCA-Astrium team had the first laser echoes from space debris using the MéO (Métrologie Optique) telescope of the Observatoire de la Côte d'Azur (OCA), upgraded with a nanosecond pulsed laser. The experiment was conducted in full compliance with the procedures dictated by the French Civil Aviation Authorities. To perform laser ranging measurement on space debris, the laser link budget needed to be improved. Related technical developments were supported by implementation of a 2J pulsed laser purchased by ASTRIUM and an adapted photo detection. To achieve acquisition of the target from low accuracy orbital data such as Two Lines Elements, a 2.3-degree field of view telescope was coupled to the original MéO telescope 3-arcmin narrow field of view. The wide field of view telescope aimed at pointing, adjusting and acquiring images of the space debris for astrometry measurement. The achieved set-up allowed performing laser ranging and angular measurements in parallel, on several rocket stages from past launches. After a brief description of the set-up, development issues and campaigns, the paper discusses added-value of laser ranging measurement when combined to angular measurement for accurate orbit determination. Comparison between different sets of experimental results as well as simulation results is given.

  2. Quantum and classical separability of spin-orbit laser modes

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Pereira, L. J.; Khoury, A. Z.; Dechoum, K.

    2014-11-01

    In this paper we investigate the quantum noise properties of polarization vortices in connection with an intensity-based Clauser-Horne-Shimony-Holt (CHSH) inequality for their spin-orbit separability. We evaluate the inequality for different input quantum states and the corresponding intensity fluctuations. The roles played by coherence and photon number squeezing provide a suitable framework for characterizing pure state spin-orbit entanglement. Structural inseparability of the spin-orbit mode requires coherence, an issue concerning either classical or quantum descriptions. In both cases, it can be witnessed by violation of this intensity-based CHSH inequality. However, in the quantum domain, entanglement requires both coherence and reduced photon number fluctuations.

  3. Orbit Determination of the SELENE Satellites Using Multi-Satellite Data Types and Evaluation of SELENE Gravity Field Models

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Goossens, S.; Matsumoto, K.; Noda, H.; Araki, H.; Rowlands, D. D.; Lemoine, F. G.

    2011-01-01

    The SELENE mission, consisting of three separate satellites that use different terrestrial-based tracking systems, presents a unique opportunity to evaluate the contribution of these tracking systems to orbit determination precision. The tracking data consist of four-way Doppler between the main orbiter and one of the two sub-satellites while the former is over the far side, and of same-beam differential VLBI tracking between the two sub-satellites. Laser altimeter data are also used for orbit determination. The contribution to orbit precision of these different data types is investigated through orbit overlap analysis. It is shown that using four-way and VLBI data improves orbit consistency for all satellites involved by reducing peak values in orbit overlap differences that exist when only standard two-way Doppler and range data are used. Including laser altimeter data improves the orbit precision of the SELENE main satellite further, resulting in very smooth total orbit errors at an average level of 18m. The multi-satellite data have also resulted in improved lunar gravity field models, which are assessed through orbit overlap analysis using Lunar Prospector tracking data. Improvements over a pre-SELENE model are shown to be mostly in the along-track and cross-track directions. Orbit overlap differences are at a level between 13 and 21 m with the SELENE models, depending on whether l-day data overlaps or I-day predictions are used.

  4. Space-based laser-powered orbital transfer vehicle (Project SLICK)

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    1988-01-01

    A conceptual design study of a laser-powered orbital transfer vehicle (LOTV) is presented. The LOTV, nicknamed SLICK (Space Laser Interorbital Cargo Kite), will be utilized for the transfer of 16000 kg of cargo between Low Earth Orbit (LEO) and either Geosynchronous Earth Orbit (GEO) or Low Lunar Orbit (LLO). This design concentrates primarily on the LEO/GEO scenario, which will have typical LEO-to-GEO trip time of 6 days and two return versions. One version uses an all propulsive return while the other utilizes a ballute aerobrake for the return trip. Furthermore, three return cargo options of 16000 kg, 5000 kg (standard option), and 1600 kg are considered for this scenario. The LEO/LLO scenario uses only a standard, aerobraked version. The basic concept behind the LOTV is that the power for the propulsion system is supplied by a source separate from the LOTV itself. For the LEO/GEO scenario the LOTV utilizes a direct solar-pumped iodide laser and possibly two relay stations, all orbiting at an altitude of one Earth radius and zero inclination. An additional nuclear-powered laser is placed on the Moon for the LEO/LLO scenario. The propulsion system of the LOTV consists of a single engine fueled with liquid hydrogen. The laser beam is captured and directed by a four mirror optical system through a window in the thrust chamber of the engine. There, seven plasmas are created to convert the laser beam energy into thermal energy at an efficiency of at least 50 percent. For the LEO/LLO scenario the laser propulsion is supplemented by LH2/LOX chemical thrusters.

  5. Modification of earth-satellite orbits using medium-energy pulsed lasers

    SciTech Connect

    Phipps, C.R.

    1992-10-01

    Laser Impulse Space Propulsion (LISP) has become an attractive concept, due to recent advances in gas laser technology, high-speed segmented mirrors and improved coeffici-ents for momentum coupling to targets in pulsed laser ablation. There are numerous specialized applications of the basic concept to space science-ranging from far-future and high capital cost to the immediate and inexpensive, such as: LEO-LISP (launch of massive objects into low-Earth-Orbit at dramatically improved cost-per-kg relative to present practice); LEGO-LISP (LEO to geosynchronous transfers); LO-LISP) (periodic re-boost of decaying LEO orbits); and LISK (geosynchronous satellite station-keeping). It is unlikely that one type of laser will be best for all scenarios. In this paper, we will focus on the last two applications.

  6. Modification of earth-satellite orbits using medium-energy pulsed lasers

    SciTech Connect

    Phipps, C.R.

    1992-01-01

    Laser Impulse Space Propulsion (LISP) has become an attractive concept, due to recent advances in gas laser technology, high-speed segmented mirrors and improved coeffici-ents for momentum coupling to targets in pulsed laser ablation. There are numerous specialized applications of the basic concept to space science-ranging from far-future and high capital cost to the immediate and inexpensive, such as: LEO-LISP (launch of massive objects into low-Earth-Orbit at dramatically improved cost-per-kg relative to present practice); LEGO-LISP (LEO to geosynchronous transfers); LO-LISP) (periodic re-boost of decaying LEO orbits); and LISK (geosynchronous satellite station-keeping). It is unlikely that one type of laser will be best for all scenarios. In this paper, we will focus on the last two applications.

  7. Bell-like inequality for the spin-orbit separability of a laser beam

    SciTech Connect

    Borges, C. V. S.; Hor-Meyll, M.; Khoury, A. Z.; Huguenin, J. A. O.

    2010-09-15

    In analogy with Bell's inequality for two-qubit quantum states, we propose an inequality criterion for the nonseparability of the spin-orbit degrees of freedom of a laser beam. A definition of separable and nonseparable spin-orbit modes is used in consonance with the one presented in Phys. Rev. Lett. 99, 160401 (2007). As the usual Bell's inequality can be violated for entangled two-qubit quantum states, we show both theoretically and experimentally that the proposed spin-orbit inequality criterion can be violated for nonseparable modes. The inequality is discussed in both the classical and quantum domains.

  8. Development, Qualification and Integration of the Optical Fiber Array Assemblies for the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Ott, Melanie N.; Switzer, Robert; Chuska, Richard; LaRocca, Frank; Thomas, William Joe; Macmurphy, Shawn

    2008-01-01

    The NASA Goddard Fiber Optics Team in the Electrical Engineering Division of the Applied Engineering and Technology Directorate, designed, developed and integrated the space flight optical fiber array hardware for the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO). The two new assemblies that were designed and manufacturing at GSFC for the LRO exist in configurations that are unique in the world for the application of ranging and LIDAR. Described here is an account of the journey and the lessons learned from design to integration for the Lunar Orbiter Laser Altimeter and the Laser Ranging Application on the LRO.

  9. Laser Altimetry and the Cartography of Mars, Moon, and 433 Eros

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Neumann, G. A.; Lemoine, F. G.; Torrence, M. H.

    2002-12-01

    More than 72,000 laser ranges to the Moon, 16 million to the asteroid 433 Eros, and 600 million to Mars have provided the cartographic context for future exploration. In the case of Mars, the accuracy of geolocated and crossover-corrected Mars Orbiter Laser Altimeter approaches 1 m vertically and 100 m horizontally, while Eros is known at best to 10 m. Our nearest neighbor is by far the least accurately measured topographically, owing in part to the lack of altimetric crossovers. We present advances in the registration of altimetric profiles and images on Mars and Eros. In the former case, pointing knowledge is the limiting factor, while for the NEAR-Shoemaker spacecraft, orbital knowledge was uncertain. Incorporation of altimetry in the orbit determination step improves both data kinds. Photometry, as implemented in the MOLA instrument and the Mercury Laser Altimeter to be flown on MESSENGER, provides an addditional geometric constraint.

  10. Program Analyzes Radar Altimeter Data

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Vandemark, Doug; Hancock, David; Tran, Ngan

    2004-01-01

    A computer program has been written to perform several analyses of radar altimeter data. The program was designed to improve on previous methods of analysis of altimeter engineering data by (1) facilitating and accelerating the analysis of large amounts of data in a more direct manner and (2) improving the ability to estimate performance of radar-altimeter instrumentation and provide data corrections. The data in question are openly available to the international scientific community and can be downloaded from anonymous file-transfer- protocol (FTP) locations that are accessible via links from altimetry Web sites. The software estimates noise in range measurements, estimates corrections for electromagnetic bias, and performs statistical analyses on various parameters for comparison of different altimeters. Whereas prior techniques used to perform similar analyses of altimeter range noise require comparison of data from repetitions of satellite ground tracks, the present software uses a high-pass filtering technique to obtain similar results from single satellite passes. Elimination of the requirement for repeat-track analysis facilitates the analysis of large amounts of satellite data to assess subtle variations in range noise.

  11. The role of laser determined orbits in geodesy and geophysics

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Kolenkiewicz, R.; Smith, D. E.; Dunn, P. J.; Torrence, M. H.; Robbins, J. W.

    1991-01-01

    Some of the results of orbit analysis from the NASA SLR analysis group are presented. The earth's orientation was determined for 5-day intervals to 1.9 mas for the pole and 0.09 msec for length of day. The 3d center of mass station positions was determined to 33 mm over a period of 3 months, and geodesic rates of SLR tracking sites were determined to 5 mm/yr.

  12. Evaluation of the TOPEX/POSEIDON altimeter system over the Great Lakes

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Morris, Charles S.; Gill, Stephen K.

    1994-01-01

    The TOPEX/POSEIDON altimeter measurment system is evaluated for the first 46 repeat cycles (September 23, 1992-December 23, 1992) using tracks over the Great Lakes. The temporal variations in lake level are removed from the altimeter measurements using in-situ lake level measurements, thus permitting the performance of the altimeter system to be assessed. For the NASA altimeter, the root-mean-square (RMS) scatter of the residuals is 3.95 cm using all the tracks over the lakes. However, some of the scatter in this result is probably due to lake tides or seiche, which can amount to a few centimeters amplitude near the ends of the lakes. When the seven best tracks are used, which cross the center of the lakes where tides/seiche effects are minimal, the RMS error is included to either 2.9 or 3.0 cm, depending on whether the Centre National d'Etudes Spatiales (CNES) or NASA orbit is used. This places an upper limit on the error budget of the altimeter system, excluding ocean tides and inverse barometer effect. There are several short-period variations in the residuals. The most pronounced is a 55-day period, with a 1-cm amplitude, which we believe is (at least in part) due to orbit error. When the model-derived wet tropospheric correction is substituted for the TOPEX microwave radiometer correction, the RMS error increases significantly, possibly resulting in an annual cycle of a few centimeters. Evaluation of the ionospheric correction indicates that the dual-frequency correction provides an average improvement of 0.85 cm over the Doppler orbitography and radiopositioning integrated by satellite (DORIS) correction. Although there are insufficient data to directly assess the CNES altimeter, the relative bias between the altimeters is estimated to be either -14.3 or -15.6 cm (NASA altimeter measuring short), depending on whether the DORIS or dual-frequency ionospheric correction is applied to the NASA altimeter.

  13. Helium-neon laser therapy in the treatment of hydroxyapatite orbital implant exposure: A superior option

    PubMed Central

    XU, QI-HUA; ZHAO, CHEN; ZHU, JIAN-GANG; CHEN, MEI-JUAN; LIU, QING-HUAI

    2015-01-01

    The aim of the present study was to evaluate the efficacy of helium-neon laser therapy in the treatment of hydroxyapatite orbital implant exposure and compare the results with those of a combined drugs and surgery regimen. A total of 70 patients with hydroxyapatite orbital implant exposure in 70 eyes were randomly divided into two groups: Helium-neon laser therapy (group A) and drugs plus surgery (group B). Each group contained 35 patients. The healing rates and times of the conjunctival wound were recorded and compared following helium-neon laser treatment or the drugs plus surgery regimen. Changes in the hydroxyapatite orbital implant prior to and following helium-neon laser irradiation were analyzed. A similar animal study was conducted using 24 New Zealand white rabbits, which received orbital implants and were then received drug treatment or helium-neon therapy. In the human experiment, the rates for conjunctival wound healing were 97.14% in group A and 74.29% in group B, with a significant difference between the groups (χ2=5.71, P<0.05). Patients with mild exposure were healed after 7.22±2.11 days of helium-neon laser therapy and 14.33±3.20 days of drugs plus surgery. A statistically significant difference was found between the groups (t=8.97, P<0.05). Patients with moderate to severe exposure were healed after 18.19±2.12 days of helium-neon laser therapy and 31.25±4.21 days of drugs plus surgery. The difference between the groups was statistically significant (t=7.91, P<0.05). Enhanced magnetic resonance imaging showed that the helium-neon laser therapy significantly promoted vascularization of the hydroxyapatite orbital implant. These results, combined with pathological findings in animals, which showed that a helium-neon laser promoted vascularization and had anti-inflammatory effects, suggest that helium-neon laser irradiation is an effective method for treating hydroxyapatite orbital implant exposure, thereby avoiding secondary surgery. PMID

  14. Global mean sea surface based upon SEASAT altimeter data

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Marsh, J. G.

    1984-01-01

    A global mean sea surface based upon the SEASAT altimeter data was derived. A combination of crossing arc techniques, accurate SEASAT reference orbits, and a previously computed GOES-3/SEASAT mean sea surface were used in the computation process. This mean sea surface provides a basis for the determination of global ocean circulation patterns and for detailed analysis of the Earth's internal structure. A contour map of the global mean sea surface is presented.

  15. Radar altimeter calibration using SLR

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Klosko, Steven M.

    1994-01-01

    Clearly a calibration of the TOPEX altimeter (and future TOPEX-class altimeters) which is more accurate and better prepared to meet the demands of global sea level trend monitoring is warranted. TOPEX/Posideon (T/P) is in its second year of data acquisition. If it survives or surpasses the two to five year projected baseline, an unprecedented opportunity for monitoring global sea level trends at mm/y levels will have been lost due to insufficient accuracy in its altimeter calibration. It is therefore paramount to revisit the design of the T/P calibration experiment and implement a more direct approach which better utilizes the accuracy of SLR to perform this needed bias assessment.

  16. Space-based laser-powered orbital transfer vehicle (Project SLICK)

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    1988-01-01

    The project SLICK (Space Laser Interorbital Cargo Kite) involves conceptual designs of reusable space-based laser-powered orbital transfer vehicle (LOTV) for ferrying 16,000 kg cargo primarily between low Earth orbit (LEO) and geosynchronous earth orbit (GEO). The power of LOTV is beamed by a single 32-MW solar-pumped iodide laser orbiting the Earth at an altitude of one Earth radius. The laser engine selected for the LOTV is based on a continuous-wave, steady-state propulsion scheme and uses an array of seven discrete plasmas in a flow of hydrogen propellant. Both all-propulsive and aerobraked LOTV configurations were analyzed and developed. The all-propulsive vehicle uses a rigid 11.5-m aperture primary mirror and its engine produces a thrust of 2000 N at a specific impulse of 1500 sec. For the LEO-to-GEO trip, the payload ratio, m(sub payload/m(sub propellant)+m(sub dry vehicle) = 1.19 and the trip time is about 6 days. The aerobraked version uses a lightweight, retractable wrapped-rib primary mirror which is folded for aerobraking and a 20-m-diameter inflatable-ballute aeroshield which is jettisoned after aeromaneuver. Lifecycle cost analysis shows that the aerobraked configuration may have an economic advantage over the all-propulsive configuration as long as the cost of launching the propellant to LEO is higher than about $500/kg in current dollars.

  17. A Laser Optical System to Remove Low Earth Orbit Space Debris

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Phipps, Claude R.; Baker, Kevin L.; Libby, Stephen B.; Liedahl, Duane A.; Olivier, Scot S.; Pleasance, Lyn D.; Rubenchik, Alexander; Nikolaev, Sergey; Trebes, James E.; George, Victor E.; Marrcovici, Bogdan; Valley, Michael T.

    2013-08-01

    Collisions between existing Low Earth Orbit (LEO) debris are now a main source of new debris, threatening future use of LEO space. As solutions, flying up and interacting with each object is inefficient due to the energy cost of orbit plane changes, while debris removal systems using blocks of aerogel or gas-filled balloons are prohibitively expensive. Furthermore, these solutions to the debris problem address only large debris, but it is also imperative to remove 10-cm-class debris. In Laser-Orbital-Debris-Removal (LODR), a ground-based pulsed laser makes plasma jets on LEO debris objects, slowing them slightly, and causing them to re-enter the atmosphere and burn up. LODR takes advantage of recent advances in pulsed lasers, large mirrors, nonlinear optics and acquisition systems. LODR is the only solution that can address both large and small debris. International cooperation is essential for building and operating such a system. We also briefly discuss the orbiting laser debris removal alternative.

  18. Orbit Determination of Non-cooperative Targets Using Laser Ranging Data at Changchun Station

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Sun, J. N.; Liu, C. Z.; Fan, C. B.; Sun, M. G.

    2015-09-01

    The precise orbit determination software successfully processes the satellite laser ranging data of the non-cooperative targets in a single station. The insufficient observation data and the sole distribution data have become a principal difficulty in the orbit determination of the non-cooperative targets. Through the choices of dynamic models and the selections of solving parameters in the process of orbit determination, the condition equation can be solved with a convergence algorithm, and the orbit is obtained. The positional deviation obtained with the method of orbital overlap will be used as the accuracy index in calculating more groups of non-cooperative targets data. And the ranging deviation is obtained by comparing the trajectory information after orbit determination with the observation data uninvolved in orbit determination, which can be regarded as the externally coincident precision. The results show that the average ranging residual is 1.01 meters, the outer precision is 14.35 meters, and the precision of 1-day orbit prediction is 24.60 meters for non-cooperative target (4814).

  19. Towards the GEOSAT Follow-On Precise Orbit Determination Goals of High Accuracy and Near-Real-Time Processing

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Lemoine, Frank G.; Zelensky, Nikita P.; Chinn, Douglas S.; Beckley, Brian D.; Lillibridge, John L.

    2006-01-01

    The US Navy's GEOSAT Follow-On spacecraft (GFO) primary mission objective is to map the oceans using a radar altimeter. Satellite laser ranging data, especially in combination with altimeter crossover data, offer the only means of determining high-quality precise orbits. Two tuned gravity models, PGS7727 and PGS7777b, were created at NASA GSFC for GFO that reduce the predicted radial orbit through degree 70 to 13.7 and 10.0 mm. A macromodel was developed to model the nonconservative forces and the SLR spacecraft measurement offset was adjusted to remove a mean bias. Using these improved models, satellite-ranging data, altimeter crossover data, and Doppler data are used to compute both daily medium precision orbits with a latency of less than 24 hours. Final precise orbits are also computed using these tracking data and exported with a latency of three to four weeks to NOAA for use on the GFO Geophysical Data Records (GDR s). The estimated orbit precision of the daily orbits is between 10 and 20 cm, whereas the precise orbits have a precision of 5 cm.

  20. Laser Time-Transfer and Space-Time Reference in Orbit

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Berceau, P.; Hollberg, L.

    2014-01-01

    A high performance Space-Time Reference in orbit could be realized using a stable atomic clock in a precisely defined orbit and linking that to high accuracy atomic clocks on the ground using a laser based time-transfer link. This would enhance performance of existing systems and provide unique capabilities in navigation, precise timing, earth sciences, geodesy and the same approach could provide a platform for testing fundamental physics in space. Precise laser timeand frequency-transfer from the ground to an orbiting satellite would make it possible to improve upon the current state of the art in timing (about 1 to 30 ns achieved with GPS) by roughly a factor of 1000 to the 1 ps level.

  1. Earth-to-Orbit Laser Launch Simulation for a Lightcraft Technology Demonstrator

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Richard, J. C.; Morales, C.; Smith, W. L.; Myrabo, L. N.

    2006-05-01

    Optimized laser launch trajectories have been developed for a 1.4 m diameter, 120 kg (empty mass) Lightcraft Technology Demonstrator (LTD). The lightcraft's combined-cycle airbreathing/rocket engine is designed for single-stage-to-orbit flights with a mass ratio of 2 propelled by a 100 MW class ground-based laser built on a 3 km mountain peak. Once in orbit, the vehicle becomes an autonomous micro-satellite. Two types of trajectories were simulated with the SORT (Simulation and Optimization of Rocket Trajectories) software package: a) direct GBL boost to orbit, and b) GBL boost aided by laser relay satellite. Several new subroutines were constructed for SORT to input engine performance (as a function of Mach number and altitude), vehicle aerodynamics, guidance algorithms, and mass history. A new guidance/steering option required the lightcraft to always point at the GBL or laser relay satellite. SORT iterates on trajectory parameters to optimize vehicle performance, achieve a desired criteria, or constrain the solution to avoid some specific limit. The predicted laser-boost performance for the LTD is undoubtedly revolutionary, and SORT simulations have helped to define this new frontier.

  2. Understanding the effects of rain on radar altimeter waveforms

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Quartly, G. D.; Srokosz, M. A.; Guymer, T. H.

    1998-11-01

    For the past 20 years, altimeters have been used for observing the oceans, deriving the sea surface height, significant wave height and backscattered power (the latter being related to the wind speed). In recent years, the quality of the observations has increased remarkably, with the improved tracking and orbits of the Topex altimeter, and its operation simultaneously at two frequencies. However throughout all this time, the presence of atmospheric liquid water, whether as clouds or rain, has been found to detract seriously from the performance of the altimeter, with suspect data being discarded on a combination of blunder point tests and radiometrically-derived rain flags. We examine the waveforms (returns from the sea surface) for the Topex altimeter, illustrating the effect of an approaching rain cell and showing how the derived geophysical variables are affected. Comparisons are made between observed and simulated waveforms. Further, using the additional C-band return pulses, methods are presented for deriving realistic wind and wave height profiles across severe storms.

  3. Precise orbit determination of the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter and first gravity field results

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Maier, Andrea; Baur, Oliver

    2014-05-01

    The Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) was launched in 2009 and is expected to orbit the Moon until the end of 2014. Among other instruments, LRO has a highly precise altimeter on board demanding an orbit accuracy of one meter in the radial component. Precise orbit determination (POD) is achieved with radiometric observations (Doppler range rates, ranges) on the one hand, and optical laser ranges on the other hand. LRO is the first satellite at a distance of approximately 360 000 to 400 000 km from the Earth that is routinely tracked with optical laser ranges. This measurement type was introduced to achieve orbits of higher precision than it would be possible with radiometric observations only. In this contribution we investigate the strength of each measurement type (radiometric range rates, radiometric ranges, optical laser ranges) based on single-technique orbit estimation. In a next step all measurement types are combined in a joined analysis. In addition to POD results, preliminary gravity field coefficients are presented being a subsequent product of the orbit determination process. POD and gravity field estimation was accomplished with the NASA/GSFC software packages GEODYN and SOLVE.

  4. Mars Observer Orbit Insertion Briefing

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    1993-01-01

    For the first part of this briefing, see NONP-NASA-VT-2000081556. Marvin Traxler continues his discussion on signal tracking from the Mars Observer. Julie Webster, Lead Engineer, Telecommunications Subsystem, is introduced. She explains how signals coming back from Mars are detected. Dr. Pasquale Esposito talks about flyby orbits and capture orbits. He says that frequencies coming from the spacecraft can determine if the spacecraft has flown by Mars, or if a capture orbit has occurred. Charles Whetsel, System Engineer Spacecraft Team, presents a computer program. He shows where the signal will appear on the computer from the Spacecraft. Suzanne Dodd presents orbit insertion geometry. Dr. Arden Albee, Project Scientist Mars Observer Project, Cal Tech tech, says that Mars is studied to get more data to confirm their hypotheses derived from previous Mars Missions such as the Viking Mars Program and the Mariner Program. Dr. Albee also describes instrumentation on the Mars Observer such as the Ultra Stable Oscillator, Mars Orbiter Laser Altimeter, and Magnetometer. The camera on the spacecraft is similar to a fax machine because it scans one line at a time as the spacecraft orbits Mars. Dr. Michael Malin, Principle Investigator Mars Observer Camera, Malin Space Science Systems, Inc., describe this process.

  5. JASON-1 Precise Orbit Determination (POD)with SLR and DORIS Tracking

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Zelensky, N. P.; Luthcke, S. B.; Rowlands, D. D.; Beckley, B. D.; Lemoine, Frank G.; Wang, Y. M.; Chinn, D. S.; Williams, T. A.

    2002-01-01

    Jason-1, the TOPEX/POSEIDON (T/P) radar altimeter follow-on, is intended to continue measurement of the ocean surface with the same, if not better accuracy. T/P has demonstrated that, the time variation of ocean topography can be determined with an accuracy of a few centimeters, thanks to the availability of highly accurate orbits based on SLR and DORIS tracking. For verification and cross-calibration, Jason-1, was initially injected into the T/P orbit, flying just 72 seconds ahead of T/P. This configuration lasted over 21 Jason cycles. In mid-August T/P was maneuvered into its final tandem configuration, a parallel groundtrack, in order to improve the combined coverage. Preliminary investigations using cycles 1-9, shown at the June 2002 SWT, indicated that nominal Jason orbits can achieve the 2-3 cm accuracy objective, however several puzzling aspects of SLR and DORIS measurement modeling were also observed. This paper presents recent analysis of Jason SLR+DORIS POD spanning more than 20 cycles, and revisits several of the more puzzling issues, including estimation of the Laser Retroreflector Array (LRA) offset. The accuracy of the orbits and of the measurement modeling are evaluated using several tests, including SLR, DORIS, and altimeter crossover residual analysis, altimeter collinear analysis, and direct comparison with GPS and other orbits. T/P POD results over the same period are used as a reference.

  6. Laser/space material uncooperative propulsion for orbital debris removal and asteroid, meteoroid, and comet deflection

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Campbell, Jonathan W.; Taylor, Charles R.; Smalley, Larry L.; Dickerson, Thomas

    1999-01-01

    Orbital debris in low-Earth orbit in the size range from 1 to 10 cm in diameter can be detected but not tracked reliably enough to be avoided by spacecraft. It can cause catastrophic damage even to a shielded spacecraft. With adaptive optics, a ground-based pulsed laser ablating the debris surface can produce enough propulsion in several hundred pulses to cause such debris to reenter the atmosphere. A single laser station could remove all of the 1-10 cm debris in three years or less. A technology demonstration of laser space propulsion is proposed which would pave the way for the implementation of such a debris removal system. The cost of the proposed demonstration is comparable with the estimated annual cost of spacecraft operations in the present orbital debris environment. Orbital debris is not the only space junk that is deleterious to the Earth's environment. Collisions with asteroids have caused major havoc to the Earth's biosphere many times in the ancient past. Since the possibility still exists for major impacts, it is shown that it is possible to scale up the systems to prevent these catastrophic collisions given sufficient early warning.

  7. A spaceborne, pulsed UV laser system for re-entering or nudging LEO debris, and re-orbiting GEO debris

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Phipps, Claude R.; Bonnal, Christophe

    2016-01-01

    Among the problems raised by the presence of debris in Earth Orbit, the question of large derelict satellites in Geostationary Orbit (GEO) is of major importance. More than 1000 defunct GEO satellites cruise in the vicinity of this unique orbit and pose the question of orbital slot availability. It is proposed to use lasers in GEO to reorbit the large debris in the graveyard zone, some 300 km above GEO. The principle of orbital transfer by laser ablation is recalled, and two different methods are described. These lasers can also serve for small debris deorbiting and large debris nudging in Low Earth Orbit (LEO). Technical details are provided, as well as a preliminary mass budget.

  8. An atlas of 1976 GEOS-3 radar altimeter data for tropical cyclone studies

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Stanley, H. R.; Chan, B.; Givens, C.; Taylor, R.

    1979-01-01

    The means for locating and extracting GEOS-3 altimeter data acquired for the analysis of specific hurricanes, typhoons, and other tropical cyclones are presented. These data are also expected to be extremely useful in the analysis of the behavior of the altimeter instrument in the presence of severe meteorological disturbances as well as provide a data base which can be useful in the resolution of apparently anomalous geoid or sea surface characteristics. Geographic locations of 1976 tropical cyclones were correlated with the closest approaching orbits of the GEOS-3 satellite and its radar altimeter. The cyclone locations and altimeter data were correlated for the 1976 season. The area of coverage includes the northern hemisphere. This document is a sequel to NASA TM-X-69364 which covered the majority of the 1975 season.

  9. Mean gravity anomalies and sea surface heights derived from GEOS-3 altimeter data

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Rapp, R. H.

    1978-01-01

    Approximately 2000 GEOS-3 altimeter arcs were analyzed to improve knowledge of the geoid and gravity field. An adjustment procedure was used to fit the sea surface heights (geoid undulations) in an adjustment process that incorporated cross-over constraints. The error model used for the fit was a one or two parameter model which was designed to remove altimeter bias and orbit error. The undulations on the adjusted arcs were used to produce geoid maps in 20 regions. The adjusted data was used to derive 301 5 degree equal area anomalies and 9995 1 x 1 degree anomalies in areas where the altimeter data was most dense, using least squares collocation techniques. Also emphasized was the ability of the altimeter data to imply rapid anomaly changes of up to 240 mgals in adjacent 1 x 1 degree blocks.

  10. The corrections for significant wave height and attitude effects in the TOPEX radar altimeter

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hayne, G. S.; Hancock, D. W.; Purdy, C. L.; Callahan, P. S.

    1994-12-01

    The routine ground processing of data from the NASA radar altimeter of TOPEX/POSEIDON includes instrument corrections for the effects of significant wave height and attitude angle changes on the altimeter's estimates of range, backscattered power, and significant wave height. This paper describes how these instrument corrections were generated and how they are applied. Detailed waveform fitting to telemetered waveform samples is use to assess the effectiveness of the corrections. There are several altimeter hardware-caused small waveform departures from the model waveforms and these departures, designated waveform 'features', are described in detailed. A consequence of the waveform features, and their positioning relationship to range rate, is that range data for ground tracks moving toward the equator may differ systematically by about a centimeter compared to range data for ground tracks moving away from the equator. The results and discussion are limited to side A of the redundant altimeter, as only side A has been operated on orbit.

  11. Precision Orbit Determination for the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Lemoine, F. G.; Mazarico, E.; Rowlands, D. D.; Torrence, M. H.; McGarry, J. F.; Neumann, G. A.; Mao, D.; Smith, D. E.; Zuber, M. T.

    2010-05-01

    The Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) spacecraft was launched on June 18, 2009. In mid-September 2009, the spacecraft orbit was changed from its commissioning orbit (30 x 216 km polar) to a quasi-frozen polar orbit with an average altitude of 50km (+-15km). One of the goals of the LRO mission is to develop a new lunar reference frame to facilitate future exploration. Precision Orbit Determination is used to achieve the accuracy requirements, and to precisely geolocate the high-resolution datasets obtained by the LRO instruments. In addition to the tracking data most commonly used to determine spacecraft orbits in planetary missions (radiometric Range and Doppler), LRO benefits from two other types of orbital constraints, both enabled by the Lunar Orbiter Laser Altimeter (LOLA) instrument. The altimetric data collected as the instrument's primary purpose can be used to derive constraints on the orbit geometry at the times of laser groundtrack intersections (crossovers). The multi-beam configuration and high firing-rate of LOLA further improves the strength of these crossovers, compared to what was possible with the MOLA instrument onboard Mars Global Surveyor (MGS). Furthermore, one-way laser ranges (LR) between Earth International Laser Ranging Service (ILRS) stations and the spacecraft are made possible by the addition of a small telescope mounted on the spacecraft high-gain antenna. The photons received from Earth are transmitted to one LOLA detector by a fiber optics bundle. Thanks to the accuracy of the LOLA timing system, the precision of 5-s LR normal points is below 10cm. We present the first results of the Precision Orbit Determination (POD) of LRO through the commissioning and nominal phases of the mission. Orbit quality is discussed, and various gravity fields are evaluated with the new (independent) LRO radio tracking data. The altimetric crossovers are used as an independent data type to evaluate the quality of the orbits. The contribution of the LR

  12. Tectonic Motion Monitoring at the Altimeter Calibration Facility on Gavdos, Crete, Greece.

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Fernandez-Ibanez, F.; Soto, J. I.; Morales, J.; Comas, C.; Evans, K.; Pavlis, E. C.; Cadeddu, M. P.; Mertikas, S. P.

    2004-12-01

    The intense tectonic activity of Eastern Mediterranean is of great interest for many decades. Recently, sea-level monitoring and climate change studies generated great interest as well as for its regional oceanography. A plethora of observations has convincingly demonstrated the importance of the area for regional meteorological and climatologic changes affecting Eurasia and North Africa. GPS monitors tectonics, while tide gauges record the variations in Mean Sea Level (MSL). Continuous monitoring of tide gauge locations with GPS removes the uncertainties introduced by local tectonics, that contaminate the observed sea level variations. Such a global tide gauge network with long historical records is already used to calibrate satellite altimeters (e.g. on TOPEX/POSEIDON, GFO, JASON-1, ENVISAT, etc.), at present, a common IOC-GLOSS-IGS effort --TIGA. Crete hosts two of the oldest tide gauges in the regional network, at Souda Bay and Heraklion. A third site, state-of-the-art MSL monitoring facility in southwestern Crete was established, on the isle of Gavdos, the southernmost European parcel of land, under a joint effort of the European Union, NASA, and the Swiss Federal Government. The site at Souda Bay is only 5 km away from the continuously operating GPS site at TUC, Chania, with a nearly seven year record of operation. The Gavdos facility is an ideal altimeter calibration site if the tectonic motions are monitored precisely and continuously. This presentation focuses on this aspect of the project, the local and regional tectonic motions relative to the "stable" part of the Eurasian plate. The facility hosts in addition to two tide gauges, multiple GPS receivers, a DORIS beacon for positioning and orbit control, and a transponder for direct calibration. During 2003, the French Transportable Laser Ranging System (FTLRS) completed a co-location campaign at Chania, Crete, for improved orbit control over the site, and to ensure the best possible and most reliable

  13. ICESat Laser Altimetry: Calibration/Validation

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Schutz, B. E.

    2003-12-01

    The Geoscience Laser Altimeter System (GLAS) was launched on ICESat in January 2003 into a 600 km altitude, near polar orbit from Vandenberg, California. The GLAS instrument has been developed by NASA Goddard and it was mated to the spacecraft bus, built by Ball Aerospace, in June 2003. GLAS laser-1 was activated in orbit on February 20, 2003 and elevation profiles of the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets, as well as land and ocean profiles, have been produced using the 1064 nm wavelength. The laser pulse has a divergence of about 0.11 mrad, which illuminates a spot on the surface with a 66 m diameter. The 170 m spot separation on the surface is determined by the ICESat orbital motion and the 40 Hz laser pulse repetition rate. Unlike wide pulse radar altimeters, accurate knowledge of the laser beam direction is required for the laser altimeter to produce accurate surface profiles. The laser pointing direction is determined with the assistance of an innovative system of CCD cameras plus calibration/validation methodologies. The combination of the laser pulse round trip time of flight and the pointing determination system provides an altitude vector. Determination of the direction of the altitude vector has an accuracy requirement of about 1.5 arcsec (or about 4.5 m on surface). In addition to the instrumentation required to produce the altitude vector, the position of a GLAS reference point with respect to the center of mass of the Earth is required. The ICESat BlackJack GPS receiver from NASA JPL has enabled determination of the radial component of the orbit to a few centimeter accuracy level. Laser-1 operated in orbit with a ground track that was controlled to within 800 m of an 8-day repeat reference track. During laser-1 operation and after the laser ceased firing on March 29, experiments were conducted to assess and improve the accuracy of off-nadir pointing, a unique capability to enhance the science return. This paper will provide an assessment of the

  14. Precision Time Transfer and Obit Determination Using Laser Ranging to Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Mao, D.; Barker, M. K.; Clarke, C. B.; Golder, J. E.; Hoffman, E.; Horvath, J. E.; Mazarico, E.; Mcgarry, J.; Neumann, G. A.; Torrence, M. H.; Rowlands, D. D.; Skillman, D.; Smith, D. E.; Sun, X.; Zuber, M. T.

    2011-12-01

    Since the commissioning of LRO in June, 2009, one-way laser ranging (LR) to Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) has been conducted successfully from NASA's Next Generation Satellite Laser Ranging System (NGSLR) at Goddard Geophysical and Astronomical observatory (GGAO) in Greenbelt, Maryland. With the support of the International Laser Ranging Service (ILRS), ten international satellite laser ranging (SLR) ground stations have participated in this experiment and over 1200 hours of ranging data have been collected. In addition to supplementing the precision orbit determination (POD) of LRO, LR is able to perform time transfer between the ground station and the spacecraft clocks. The LRO clock oscillator is stable to 1 part in 10^{12} over several hours, and as stable for much longer periods after correcting for a long-term drift rate and an aging rate. With a precisely-determined LRO ephemeris, the oscillator-determined laser pulse receive time can be differenced with ground station clock transmit times using H-maser and GPS-steered Rb oscillators as references. Simultaneous ranging to LRO among 2, 3, or 4 ground stations has made it possible for relative time transfer among the participating LR stations. Results have shown about 100 ns difference between some LR stations and the primary NGSLR station. At present, the time transfer accuracy is limited to 100 ns at NGSLR. However, an All-View GPS receiver has been installed, which, in combination with a H-maser, is expected to improve the accuracy to 1 ns r.m.s. at NGSLR. Results of new ranging and time transfer experiments using the new time base will be reported. The ability to use LR for time transfer validates the selection of a commercially-supplied, oven-controlled crystal oscillator on board LRO for one-way laser ranging.The increased clock accuracy also provides stronger orbit constraints for LRO POD. The improvements due to including LR data in the LRO POD will be presented.

  15. Random wandering of laser beams with orbital angular momentum during propagation through atmospheric turbulence.

    PubMed

    Aksenov, Valerii P; Kolosov, Valeriy V; Pogutsa, Cheslav E

    2014-06-10

    The propagation of laser beams having orbital angular momenta (OAM) in the turbulent atmosphere is studied numerically. The variance of random wandering of these beams is investigated with the use of the Monte Carlo technique. It is found that, among various types of vortex laser beams, such as the Laguerre-Gaussian (LG) beam, modified Bessel-Gaussian beam, and hypergeometric Gaussian beam, having identical initial effective radii and OAM, the LG beam occupying the largest effective volume in space is the most stable one. PMID:24921122

  16. Laser Ranging for Effective and Accurate Tracking of Space Debris in Low Earth Orbits

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Blanchet, Guillaume; Haag, Herve; Hennegrave, Laurent; Assemat, Francois; Vial, Sophie; Samain, Etienne

    2013-08-01

    The paper presents the results of preliminary design options for an operational laser ranging system adapted to the measurement of the distance of space debris. Thorough analysis of the operational parameters is provided with identification of performance drivers and assessment of enabling design options. Results from performance simulation demonstrate how the range measurement enables improvement of the orbit determination when combined with astrometry. Besides, experimental results on rocket-stage class debris in LEO were obtained by Astrium beginning of 2012, in collaboration with the Observatoire de la Côte d'Azur (OCA), by operating an experimental laser ranging system supported by the MéO (Métrologie Optique) telescope.

  17. Status of the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Geodetic Investigation

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Mazarico, E.; Rowlands, D. D.; Neumann, G. A.; Smith, D. E.; Torrence, M. H.; Lemoine, F. G.; Zuber, M. T.

    2011-12-01

    We present the status of the Precision Orbit Determination work performed at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center by the Lunar Orbiter Laser Altimeter (LOLA) Science Team. LOLA, the multi-beam laser altimeter instrument onboard the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO), has been operating continuously since July 13, 2009 and has provided more than 4.5 billion measurements as of July 2011. The high precision (10cm) and small footprint (5m) of the altimetric data, as well as the high resolution (25cm per pixel) of the LRO Camera (LROC), require high-accuracy orbits of the LRO spacecraft in order to maximize their scientific value and to enable proper coregistration of the various datasets obtained by LRO. Radiometric tracking data are complemented by altimetric crossover constraints derived from individual LOLA profiles. With a pre-LRO a priori gravity field (GLGM-3), the crossovers helped substantially improve the self-consistency of the reconstructed LRO orbits (assessed through orbit overlaps), from ~70m overlap RMS (radiometric-only) down to ~25m.We also used the LRO tracking and altimetric data to obtain a new solution of the lunar gravity field, specifically designed to provide enhanced orbit accuracy. With this preliminary LRO field (LLGM-1), the radiometric-only orbits achieve ~25m overlap precision. When complemented by the altimetric crossovers, the orbit consistency improves to better than 15m. Results from more than 2 years of radiometric tracking data and LOLA altimetry will be shown, including an updated gravity field solution. Current efforts to use very long integration arcs (4 months at a time) will also be presented, with the goal of combining all the available farside crossover constraints to help refine the short-wavelength farside gravity field.

  18. LAGRANGE: LAser GRavitational-wave ANtenna in GEodetic Orbit

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Buchman, S.; Conklin, J. W.; Balakrishnan, K.; Aguero, V.; Alfauwaz, A.; Aljadaan, A.; Almajed, M.; Altwaijry, H.; Saud, T. A.; Byer, R. L.; Bower, K.; Costello, B.; Cutler, G. D.; DeBra, D. B.; Faied, D. M.; Foster, C.; Genova, A. L.; Hanson, J.; Hooper, K.; Hultgren, E.; Klavins, A.; Lantz, B.; Lipa, J. A.; Palmer, A.; Plante, B.; Sanchez, H. S.; Saraf, S.; Schaechter, D.; Shu, K.; Smith, E.; Tenerelli, D.; Vanbezooijen, R.; Vasudevan, G.; Williams, S. D.; Worden, S. P.; Zhou, J.; Zoellner, A.

    2013-01-01

    We describe a new space gravitational wave observatory design called LAG-RANGE that maintains all important LISA science at about half the cost and with reduced technical risk. It consists of three drag-free spacecraft in a geocentric formation. Fixed antennas allow continuous contact with the Earth, solving the problem of communications bandwidth and latency. A 70 mm diameter sphere with a 35 mm gap to its enclosure serves as the single inertial reference per spacecraft, operating in “true” drag-free mode (no test mass forcing). Other advantages are: a simple caging design based on the DISCOS 1972 drag-free mission, an all optical read-out with pm fine and nm coarse sensors, and the extensive technology heritage from the Honeywell gyroscopes, and the DISCOS and Gravity Probe B drag-free sensors. An Interferometric Measurement System, designed with reflective optics and a highly stabilized frequency standard, performs the ranging between test masses and requires a single optical bench with one laser per spacecraft. Two 20 cm diameter telescopes per spacecraft, each with infield pointing, incorporate novel technology developed for advanced optical systems by Lockheed Martin, who also designed the spacecraft based on a multi-flight proven bus structure. Additional technological advancements include updated drag-free propulsion, thermal control, charge management systems, and materials. LAGRANGE subsystems are designed to be scalable and modular, making them interchangeable with those of LISA or other gravitational science missions. We plan to space qualify critical technologies on small and nano satellite flights, with the first launch (UV-LED Sat) in 2013.

  19. Donut wakefields generated by intense laser pulses with orbital angular momentum

    SciTech Connect

    Mendonça, J. T.; Vieira, J.

    2014-03-15

    We study the wakefields produced in a plasma by intense laser pulses carrying a finite amount of orbital angular momentum. We show that these wakefields have new donut-like shapes, different from those usually considered in the literature, and could be used to accelerate hollow electron beams. Wakefields with a more general angular structure were also considered. The analytical solutions are corroborated by relativistic particle-in-cell simulations using OSIRIS.

  20. Laser orbital energy moduleâ'the first step to space power station

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Babaev, Igor K.; Leontiev, Alexandr I.; Samsonov, Vladimir L.; Schmidt, Konstantin L.; Katorgin, Boris I.; Ponomarov-Stepney, Niokolay N.

    1995-01-01

    The possibility of power module development as the first step for the development of an orbital power state (OPS) is reviewed in this report. The most probable OPS scheme is a laser system with direct nuclear pumping. Since this task is not yet been defined well enough in its technical form, a better developed prototype has been selected in the form of a free electron laser with the power system on the basis of a gas core nuclear reactor (MGD)—generator and multi-modular closed gas turbine system. Taking into consideration that many of the elements of this orbital complex are in the stage of advanced development within current programs in different countries, we propose to continue the research and development of the remainder of the key elements. This work was carried out earlier for military purposes but was halted after the end of the cold war. It is proposed to perform this work within the framework of international cooperation, and a lot of the achievements of the Russian nuclear and aerospace technology will be utilized in the project. It will be a worthwhile task to achieve within 6-8 years the development of an orbital power module with a shortwave laser having the power of NL=100 kW for short-time periodical energy transmision from the 500 km orbital to a stationary site in Eastern Siberia. The power supply for this laser is based upon a closed high temperature gas turbine system with a graphite heat accumulator, which is charged with electricity generated by the ``Topaz''-type nuclear power system.

  1. SLICER Airborne Laser Altimeter Characterization of Canopy Structure and Sub-canopy Topography for the BOREAS Northern and Southern Study Regions: Instrument and Data Product Description

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Hall, Forrest G. (Editor); Nickeson, Jaime (Editor); Harding, D. J.; Blair, J. B.; Rabine, D. L.; Still, K. L.

    2000-01-01

    SLICER data were acquired in support of BOREAS at all of the TF sites in the SSA and NSA, and along transects between the study areas. Data were acquired on 5 days between 18-Jul and 30-Jul-1996. Each coverage of a tower site is typically 40 km in length, with a minimum of 3 and a maximum of 10 lines across each tower oriented in a variety of azimuths. The SLICER data were acquired simultaneously with ASAS hyperspectral, multiview angle images. The SLICER Level 3 products consist of binary files for each flight line with a data record for each laser shot composed of 13 parameters and a 600-byte waveform that is the raw record of the backscatter laser energy reflected from Earth's surface. The SLICER data are stored in a combination of ASCII and binary data files.

  2. A laser-optical system to re-enter or lower low Earth orbit space debris

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Phipps, Claude R.

    2014-01-01

    Collisions among existing Low Earth Orbit (LEO) debris are now a main source of new debris, threatening future use of LEO space. Due to their greater number, small (1-10 cm) debris are the main threat, while large (>10 cm) objects are the main source of new debris. Flying up and interacting with each large object is inefficient due to the energy cost of orbit plane changes, and quite expensive per object removed. Strategically, it is imperative to remove both small and large debris. Laser-Orbital-Debris-Removal (LODR), is the only solution that can address both large and small debris. In this paper, we briefly review ground-based LODR, and discuss how a polar location can dramatically increase its effectiveness for the important class of sun-synchronous orbit (SSO) objects. With 20% clear weather, a laser-optical system at either pole could lower the 8-ton ENVISAT by 40 km in about 8 weeks, reducing the hazard it represents by a factor of four. We also discuss the advantages and disadvantages of a space-based LODR system. We estimate cost per object removed for these systems. International cooperation is essential for designing, building and operating any such system.

  3. Ground-to-space optical power transfer. [using laser propulsion for orbit transfer

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Mevers, G. E.; Hayes, C. L.; Soohoo, J. F.; Stubbs, R. M.

    1978-01-01

    Using laser radiation as the energy input to a rocket, it is possible to consider the transfer of large payloads economically between low initial orbits and higher energy orbits. In this paper we will discuss the results of an investigation to use a ground-based High Energy Laser (HEL) coupled to an adaptive antenna to transmit multi-megawatts of power to a satellite in low-earth orbit. Our investigation included diffraction effects, atmospheric transmission efficiency, adaptive compensation for atmospheric turbulence effects, including the servo bandwidth requirements for this correction, and the adaptive compensation for thermal blooming. For these evaluations we developed vertical profile models of atmospheric absorption, strength of optical turbulence (CN2), wind, temperature, and other parameters necessary to calculate system performance. Our atmospheric investigations were performed for CO2, 12C18O2 isotope, CO and DF wavelengths. For all of these considerations, output antenna locations of both sea level and mountain top (3.5 km above sea level) were used. Several adaptive system concepts were evaluated with a multiple source phased array concept being selected. This system uses an adaption technique of phase locking independent laser oscillators. When both system losses and atmospheric effects were assessed, the results predicted an overall power transfer efficiency of slightly greater than 50%.

  4. Thermo-optical vacuum testing of Galileo In-Orbit Validation laser retroreflectors

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Dell'Agnello, S.; Boni, A.; Cantone, C.; Ciocci, E.; Contessa, S.; Delle Monache, G.; Lops, C.; Martini, M.; Patrizi, G.; Porcelli, L.; Salvatori, L.; Tibuzzi, M.; Intaglietta, N.; Tuscano, P.; Mondaini, C.; Maiello, M.; Doyle, D.; García-Prieto, R.; Navarro-Reyes, D.

    2016-06-01

    The Galileo constellation is a space research and development program of the European Union to help navigate users all over the world. The Galileo IOV (In-Orbit Validation) are the first test satellites of the Galileo constellation and carry satellite laser retroreflectors as part of their payload systems for precision orbit determination and performance assessment. INFN-LNF SCF_Lab (Satellite/lunar/GNSS laser ranging/altimetry and Cube/microsat Characterization Facilities Laboratory) has been performing tests on a sample of the laser array segment under the Thermo-optical vacuum testing of Galileo IOV laser retro-reflectors of Galileo IOV LRA project, as defined in ESA-INFN Contract No. 4000108617/13/NL/PA. We will present the results of FFDP (Far Field Diffraction Pattern) and thermal relaxation times measurements in relevant space conditions of Galileo IOV CCRs (Cube Corner Retroreflectors) provided by ESA-ESTEC. A reference for the performance of laser ranging on Galileo satellites is the FFDP of a retroreflector in its design specifications and a Galileo retroreflector, in air and isothermal conditions, should have a minimum return intensity within the range [ 0.55 ×106m2- 2.14 ×106m2 ] (ESA-INFN, 2013). Measurements, performed in SCF_Lab facility, demonstrated that the 7 Galileo IOV laser retroreflectors under test were compliant with design performance expectations (Porcelli et al., 2015). The kind of tests carried out for this activity are the first performed on spare Galileo IOV hardware, made available after the launch of the four Galileo IOV satellites (2011 and 2012), which were the operational core of the constellation. The characterisation of the retroreflectors against their design requirements is important because LRAs (Laser Retroreflector Arrays) will be flown on all Galileo satellites.

  5. GFO Altimeter Engineering Assessment Report

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Lockwood, Dennis W.; Hancock, David W., III; Hayne, George S.; Brooks, Ronald L.

    2002-01-01

    The U.S. Navy's Geosat Follow-On (GFO) Mission, launched on February 20, 1998, is one of a series of altimetric satellites which include Seasat, Geosat, ERS-1, and TOPEX/POSEIDON (T/P). The purpose of this report is to document the GFO altimeter performance determined from the analyses and results performed by NASA's GSFC and Wallops altimeter, calibration team. It is the second of an anticipated series of NASA's GSFC and Wallops GFO performance documents, each of which will update assessment results. This report covers the performance from instrument acceptance by the Navy on November 29, 2000, to the end of Cycle 20 on November 21, 2001. Data derived from GFO will lead to improvements in the knowledge of ocean circulation, ice sheet topography, and climate change. In order to capture the maximum amount of information from the GFO data, accurate altimeter calibrations are required for the civilian data set which NOAA will produce. Wallops Flight Facility has provided similar products for the Geosat and T/P missions and is doing the same for GFO.

  6. Project ORION: Orbital Debris Removal Using Ground-Based Sensors and Lasers

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Campbell, J. W.

    1996-01-01

    About 100,000 pieces of 1 to 10-cm debris in low-Earth orbit are too small to track reliably but large enough to cripple or destroy spacecraft. The ORION team studied the feasibility of removing the debris with ground-based laser impulses. Photoablation experiments were surveyed and applied to likely debris materials. Laser intensities needed for debris orbit modification call for pulses on the order of lOkJ or continuous wave lasers on the order of 1 MW. Adaptive optics are necessary to correct for atmospheric turbulence. Wavelength and pulse duration windows were found that limit beam degradation due to nonlinear atmospheric processes. Debris can be detected and located to within about 10 microrads with existing radar and passive optical technology. Fine targeting would be accomplished with laser illumination, which might also be used for detection. Bistatic detection with communications satellites may also be possible. We recommend that existing technology be used to demonstrate the concept at a loss of about $20 million. We calculate that an installation to clear altitudes up to 800 km of 1 to 10-cm debris over 2 years of operation would cost about $80 million. Clearing altitudes up to 1,500 km would take about 3 years and cost about $160 million.

  7. Laser Solutions for Reducing the Environmental Risks Associated with Orbital Debris and Near Earth Objects

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Campbell, Jonathan W.; Howell, Joe T. (Technical Monitor)

    2001-01-01

    Increasing activity in space is gradually increasing the amount of orbital debris in low earth orbit. As the debris increases, the environmental risk (hypervelocity collisions) associated with spaceflight also increases. Debris larger than 10 cm can typically be detected and tracked sufficiently to allow risk avoidance to be achieved by maneuvering to safe distances. Risk reduction for objects smaller than I cm may be accomplished through shielding. However, intermediate sized debris remains a problem. A convenient risk reduction solution has been identified using modem laser technology. In this approach, a relatively low energy laser facility operating near e equator may significantly reduce the amount of intermediate sized debris (1 - 10 cm) in a few years of operation. A sufficiently intense laser pulse arriving at a debris objects surface will ablate a micro-thin layer of material. As this hot gas rapidly expands away from the object, a small change in momentum is imparted. The momentum change for one pulse is insignificant. However, since the laser can provide 10-1000 pulses per second over several minutes, the cumulative effect is substantive. The object's perigee may be lowered in this manner into atmosphere where it will be vaporized. This same technique may be employed on a larger scale for risk reduction in asteroids, meteoroids, and comets colliding with the Earth at hypervelocities.

  8. Photon counting altimeter and lidar for air and spaceborne applications

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Vacek, Michael; Michalek, Vojtech; Peca, Marek; Prochazka, Ivan; Blazej, Josef; Kodet, Jan

    2011-06-01

    We are presenting the concept and preliminary design of modular multipurpose device for space segment: single photon counting laser altimeter, atmospheric lidar, laser transponder and one way laser ranging receiver. For all the mentioned purposes, the same compact configuration of the device is appropriate. Overall estimated device weight should not exceed 5 kg with the power consumption below 10 W. The device will consists of three main parts, namely, receiver, transmitter and control and processing unit. As a transmitter a commercial solid state laser at 532 nm wavelength with 10 mW power will be used. The transmitter optics will have a diameter at most of 50 mm. The laser pulse width will be of hundreds of picoseconds order. For the laser altimeter and atmospheric lidar application, the repetition rate of 10 kHz is planned in order to obtain sufficient number of data for a distance value computing. The receiver device will be composed of active quenched Single Photon Avalanche Diode module, tiny optics, and narrow-band optical filter. The core part of the control and processing unit including high precision timing unit is implemented using single FPGA chip. The preliminary device concept includes considerations on energy balance, and statistical algorithms to meet all the mentioned purposes. Recently, the bread board version of the device is under construction in our labs. The concept, construction, and timing results will be presented.

  9. High harmonic generation in underdense plasmas by intense laser pulses with orbital angular momentum

    SciTech Connect

    Mendonça, J. T.; Vieira, J.

    2015-12-15

    We study high harmonic generation produced by twisted laser pulses, with orbital angular momentum in the relativistic regime, for pulse propagation in underdense plasma. We consider fast time scale processes associated with an ultra-short pulse, where the ion motion can be neglected. We use both analytical models and numerical simulations using a relativistic particle-in-cell code. The present description is valid for relativistic laser intensities, when the normalized field amplitude is much larger than one, a ≫ 1. We also discuss two distinct processes associated with linear and circular polarization. Using both analytical solutions and particle-in-cell simulations, we are able to show that, for laser pulses in a well defined Laguerre-Gauss mode, angular momentum conservation is observed during the process of harmonic generation. Intensity modulation of the harmonic spectrum is also verified, as imposed by the nonlinear time-scale for energy transfer between different harmonics.

  10. High harmonic generation in underdense plasmas by intense laser pulses with orbital angular momentum

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Mendonça, J. T.; Vieira, J.

    2015-12-01

    We study high harmonic generation produced by twisted laser pulses, with orbital angular momentum in the relativistic regime, for pulse propagation in underdense plasma. We consider fast time scale processes associated with an ultra-short pulse, where the ion motion can be neglected. We use both analytical models and numerical simulations using a relativistic particle-in-cell code. The present description is valid for relativistic laser intensities, when the normalized field amplitude is much larger than one, a ≫ 1. We also discuss two distinct processes associated with linear and circular polarization. Using both analytical solutions and particle-in-cell simulations, we are able to show that, for laser pulses in a well defined Laguerre-Gauss mode, angular momentum conservation is observed during the process of harmonic generation. Intensity modulation of the harmonic spectrum is also verified, as imposed by the nonlinear time-scale for energy transfer between different harmonics.

  11. Tracking system options for future altimeter satellite missions

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Davis, G. W.; Rim, H. J.; Ries, J. C.; Tapley, B. D.

    1994-01-01

    Follow-on missions to provide continuity in the observation of the sea surface topography once the successful TOPEX/POSEIDON (T/P) oceanographic satellite mission has ended are discussed. Candidates include orbits which follow the ground tracks of T/P GEOSAT or ERS-1. The T/P precision ephemerides, estimated to be near 3 cm root-mean-square, demonstrate the radial orbit accuracy that can be achieved at 1300 km altitude. However, the radial orbit accuracy which can be achieved for a mission at the 800 km altitudes of GEOSAT and ERS-1 has not been established, and achieving an accuracy commensurate with T/P will pose a great challenge. This investigation focuses on the radial orbit accuracy that can be achieved for a mission in the GEOSAT orbit. Emphasis is given to characterizing the effects of force model errors on the estimated radial orbit accuracy, particularly those due to gravity and drag. The importance of global, continuous tracking of the satellite for reduction in these sources of orbit error is demonstrated with simulated GPS tracking data. A gravity tuning experiment is carried out to show how the effects of gravity error may be reduced. Assuming a GPS flight receiver with a full-sky tracking capability, the simulation results indicate that a 5 cm radial orbit accuracy for an altimeter satellite in GEOSAT orbit should be achievable during low-drag atmospheric conditions and after an acceptable tuning of the gravity model.

  12. MR-Guided Laser-Induced Thermotherapy of the Infratemporal Fossa and Orbit in Malignant Chondrosarcoma via a Modified Technique

    SciTech Connect

    Vogl, Thomas J.; Mack, Martin G.; Straub, Ralf; Eichler, Katrin; Zangos, Stephan

    2001-12-15

    A 76-year-old patient presented with a recurrent mass of a malignant chondrosarcoma in the right infratemporal fossa and in the left maxillary sinus with orbital invasion. The patient was treated with a palliative intention with MR-guided laser-induced thermotherapy using a modified applicator technique. Following treatment clinical symptoms improved and MRI revealed complete laser-induced tumor necrosis.

  13. Compact, Passively Q-Switched Nd:YAG Laser for the MESSENGER Mission to the Planet Mercury

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Krebs, Danny J.; Novo-Gradac, Anne-Marie; Li, Steven X.; Lindauer, Steven J.; Afzal, Robert S.; Yu, Antony

    2004-01-01

    A compact, passively Q-switched Nd:YAG laser has been developed for the Mercury Laser Altimeter (MLA) instrument which is an instrument on the MESSENGER mission to the planet Mercury. The laser achieves 5.4 percent efficiency with a near diffraction limited beam. It has passed all space flight environmental tests at system, instrument, and satellite integration. The laser design draws on a heritage of previous laser altimetry missions, specifically ISESAT and Mars Global Surveyor; but incorporates thermal management features unique to the requirements of an orbit of the planet Mercury.

  14. On siphons and sediments: A new model for draining active subglacial lakes in Antarctica informed with satellite radar and laser altimeter observations.

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Carter, S. P.; Fricker, H. A.; Siegfried, M. R.

    2014-12-01

    With the advent of repeat-pass satellite-based surface altimetry over much of Antarctica, approximately 130 new subglacial lakes have been discovered entirely from observations of surface uplift and subsidence; these are commonly referred to as "active lakes". In contrast to the ~160 lakes detected by radar sounding ("RES" lakes), which are typically in mountains bedrock terrain near the ice divide and static with residence times spanning millenia, active lakes are typically located in fast flowing ice streams far from the divides, and have short residence times. To understand how water transfers through active lake systems we have developed a new model based on earlier theoretical work and informed by lake-volume estimates inferred from of ice surface displacements detected by satellite radar and laser altimetry. We find that although the overall pattern of filling and drainage is similar to that for ice dammed lakes in alpine regions via channels thermally eroded into the ice that then creeps shut as water pressure declines, Antarctic lake drainage is better simulated by invoking a channel mechanically eroded into the underlying sediment. The necessity of an erodable deformable substrate to explain lake drainage suggests that the distribution of active lakes is an indicator for the presence of sediment. Furthermore the process of lake drainage appears quite sensitive to the composion and strength of the underlying till. We explore these possibilities by testing the model on subglacial lakes in both East and West Antarctica, including Recovery Glacier and MacAyeal Ice stream.

  15. Absolute Sea Level Monitoring and Altimeter Calibration At Gavdos, Crete, Greece

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Pavlis, E. C.; Gavdos Team

    We present the mean sea level (MSL) monitoring aspect of the altimeter calibration fa- cility under deployment on western Crete and the isle of Gavdos. The Eastern Mediter- ranean area is one of great interest for its intense tectonic activity as well as for its regional oceanography. Recent observations have convincingly demonstrated the im- portance of that area for the regional meteorological and climatological changes. Tide- gauge monitoring with GPS has gained importance lately since tectonics contaminate the inferred sea level variations, and a global network of tide-gauges with long his- torical records can be used as satellite altimeter calibration sites for current and fu- ture missions (e.g. TOPEX/POSEIDON, GFO, JASON-1, ENVISAT, etc.). This is at present a common IOC-GLOSS-IGS effort, already underway (TIGA). Crete hosts two of the oldest tide-gauges in the regional network and our project will further ex- pand it to the south of the island with a new site on the isle of Gavdos, the southernmost European parcel of land. One component of our "GAVDOS" project is the repeated occupation of two already in existence tide-gauge sites at Souda Bay and Heraklion, and their tie to the new facility. We show here initial results from positioning of these sites and some of the available tidal records. Gavdos is situated under a ground-track crossing point of the present T/P and JASON-1 orbits. It is an ideal calibration site if the tectonic motions are monitored precisely and continuously. Our plans include the deployment of additional instrumentation at this site: GPS and DORIS beacons for positioning, transponders for direct calibration, water vapor radiometers, GPS-loaded buoys, airborne surveys with gravimeters and laser profiling lidars, etc., to ensure the best possible and most reliable results.

  16. 14 CFR 91.121 - Altimeter settings.

    Code of Federal Regulations, 2011 CFR

    2011-01-01

    ... 14 Aeronautics and Space 2 2011-01-01 2011-01-01 false Altimeter settings. 91.121 Section 91.121 Aeronautics and Space FEDERAL AVIATION ADMINISTRATION, DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION (CONTINUED) AIR TRAFFIC AND GENERAL OPERATING RULES GENERAL OPERATING AND FLIGHT RULES Flight Rules General § 91.121 Altimeter settings. (a) Each person operating...

  17. 14 CFR 91.121 - Altimeter settings.

    Code of Federal Regulations, 2010 CFR

    2010-01-01

    ... 14 Aeronautics and Space 2 2010-01-01 2010-01-01 false Altimeter settings. 91.121 Section 91.121... settings. (a) Each person operating an aircraft shall maintain the cruising altitude or flight level of that aircraft, as the case may be, by reference to an altimeter that is set, when operating— (1)...

  18. 14 CFR 91.121 - Altimeter settings.

    Code of Federal Regulations, 2012 CFR

    2012-01-01

    ... 14 Aeronautics and Space 2 2012-01-01 2012-01-01 false Altimeter settings. 91.121 Section 91.121 Aeronautics and Space FEDERAL AVIATION ADMINISTRATION, DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION (CONTINUED) AIR TRAFFIC AND GENERAL OPERATING RULES GENERAL OPERATING AND FLIGHT RULES Flight Rules General § 91.121 Altimeter settings. (a) Each person operating...

  19. 14 CFR 91.121 - Altimeter settings.

    Code of Federal Regulations, 2014 CFR

    2014-01-01

    ... 14 Aeronautics and Space 2 2014-01-01 2014-01-01 false Altimeter settings. 91.121 Section 91.121 Aeronautics and Space FEDERAL AVIATION ADMINISTRATION, DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION (CONTINUED) AIR TRAFFIC AND GENERAL OPERATING RULES GENERAL OPERATING AND FLIGHT RULES Flight Rules General § 91.121 Altimeter settings. (a) Each person operating...

  20. Geopotential models of the Earth from satellite tracking, altimeter and surface gravity observations: GEM-T3 and GEM-T3S

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Lerch, F. J.; Nerem, R. S.; Putney, B. H.; Felsentreger, T. L.; Sanchez, B. V.; Klosko, S. M.; Patel, G. B.; Williamson, R. G.; Chinn, D. S.; Chan, J. C.

    1992-01-01

    Improved models of the Earth's gravitational field have been developed from conventional tracking data and from a combination of satellite tracking, satellite altimeter and surface gravimetric data. This combination model represents a significant improvement in the modeling of the gravity field at half-wavelengths of 300 km and longer. Both models are complete to degree and order 50. The Goddard Earth Model-T3 (GEM-T3) provides more accurate computation of satellite orbital effects as well as giving superior geoidal representation from that achieved in any previous GEM. A description of the models, their development and an assessment of their accuracy is presented. The GEM-T3 model used altimeter data from previous satellite missions in estimating the orbits, geoid, and dynamic height fields. Other satellite tracking data are largely the same as was used to develop GEM-T2, but contain certain important improvements in data treatment and expanded laser tracking coverage. Over 1300 arcs of tracking data from 31 different satellites have been used in the solution. Reliable estimates of the model uncertainties via error calibration and optimal data weighting techniques are discussed.

  1. GEOSAT Follow-On Radar Altimeter Satellite Performance Studies

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Finkelstein, J. L.; Rau, M.; McMillan, J. D.

    2002-12-01

    Under a Navy Contract with Ball Aerospace and Technologies Corporation, the first GFO satellite was completed in 1997 and launched on 10 February 1998 on an Orbital Taurus launch vehicle. The satellite was operationally accepted on 29 November 2000. With an anticipated 8-year or more life, GFO (http://gfo.bmpcoe.org/Gfo) is a DoD satellite mission managed by the Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command's (SPAWAR's) Meteorological and Oceanographic (METOC) Systems Program Office (PMW 155) located in San Diego, California. The satellite is in the same Exact Repeat Orbit (ERO) as the original GEOSAT (800 km by 108 degrees inclination). All GFO's data products are available to the scientific community and are distributed by NOAA's Laboratory for Satellite Altimetry. The primary program objective was to develop an operational series of radar altimeter satellites to maintain continuous ocean observation for accurate global measurements of both mesoscale and basin-scale oceanography. Since its acceptance, Computer Sciences Corporation (CSC), under contract with the Navy, has provided a team known as the GFO Cal/Val and assisted by NASA and NOAA personnel has undertaken extensive and continuing calibration and validation activities on an exact repeat cycle basis. This paper will discuss the results of those Cal/Val efforts and present charts showing the performance history of the satellite, its sensors (both the Radar Altimeter and the Water Vapor Radiometer), and other relevant performance measures such as orbit accuracy.

  2. Mapping the Topography of Mercury with MESSENGER Laser Altimetry

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Sun, Xiaoli; Cavanaugh, John F.; Neumann, Gregory A.; Smith, David E..; Zubor, Maria T.

    2012-01-01

    The Mercury Laser Altimeter onboard MESSENGER involves unique design elements that deal with the challenges of being in orbit around Mercury. The Mercury Laser Altimeter (MLA) is one of seven instruments on NASA's MErcury Surface, Space ENvironment, GEochemistry, and Ranging (MESSENGER) spacecraft. MESSENGER was launched on 3 August 2004, and entered into orbit about Mercury on 18 March 2011 after a journey through the inner solar system. This involved six planetary flybys, including three of Mercury. MLA is designed to map the topography and landforms of Mercury's surface. It also measures the planet's forced libration (motion about the spin axis), which helps constrain the state of the core. The first science measurements from orbit taken with MLA were made on 29 March 2011 and continue to date. MLA had accumulated about 8.3 million laser ranging measurements to Mercury's surface, as of 31 July 2012, i.e., over six Mercury years (528 Earth days). Although MLA is the third planetary lidar built at the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC), MLA must endure a much harsher thermal environment near Mercury than the previous instruments on Mars and Earth satellites. The design of MLA was derived in part from that of the Mars Orbiter Laser Altimeter on Mars Global Surveyor. However, MLA must range over greater distances and often in off-nadir directions from a highly eccentric orbit. In MLA we use a single-mode diode-pumped Nd:YAG (neodymium-doped yttrium aluminum garnet) laser that is highly collimated to maintain a small footprint on the planet. The receiver has both a narrow field of view and a narrow spectral bandwidth to minimize the amount of background light detected from the sunlit hemisphere of Mercury. We achieve the highest possible receiver sensitivity by employing the minimum receiver detection threshold.

  3. Modeling channel interference in an orbital angular momentum-multiplexed laser link

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Anguita, Jaime A.; Neifeld, Mark A.; Vasic, Bane V.

    2009-08-01

    We study the effects of optical turbulence on the energy crosstalk among constituent orbital angular momentum (OAM) states in a vortex-based multi-channel laser communication link and determine channel interference in terms of turbulence strength and OAM state separation. We characterize the channel interference as a function of C2n and transmit OAM state, and propose probability models to predict the random fluctuations in the received signals for such architecture. Simulations indicate that turbulence-induced channel interference is mutually correlated across receive channels.

  4. Development of State of the Art Solid State Lasers for Altimetry and other LIDAR Applications

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Kay, Richard B.

    1997-01-01

    This report describes work performed and research accomplished through the end of 1997. During this time period, we have designed and fabricated two lasers for flight LIDAR applications to medium altitudes (Laser Vegetation Imaging System designs LVIS 1 and LVIS 2), designed one earth orbiting LIDAR transmitter (VCL-Alt), and continued work on a high rep-rate LIDAR laser (Raster Scanned Altimeter, RASCAL). Additionally, a 'White Paper' was prepared which evaluates the current state of the art of Nd:YAG lasers and projects efficiencies to the year 2004. This report is attached as Appendix 1 of this report.

  5. Fluid-orbit coupling calculation for flight analysis of impulsively driven laser vehicle

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Takahashi, Masayuki; Ohnishi, Naofumi

    2013-08-01

    Using a fluid-orbit coupling simulator, we numerically solve the three-dimensional Navier-Stokes equations with exchanging information of six-degree-of-freedom reactions for predicting impulsive flight motions of a laser propulsion vehicle driven by blast waves. By feedback of angular and translational velocities into the flowfield, pressure and viscous drags induced by the unsteady vehicle motion are introduced to provide precise motion analysis. In the impulsive-motion estimation of the laser-boosted vehicle, restoring forces and moments are underestimated if the vehicle motion effect is modeled using aerodynamic coefficients of steady flow. Also, a simple model using impulse data examined by experiments for predicting the impulsive motion is compared with our coupling approach which can reproduce instantaneous acceleration resulting from the interaction between the vehicle and the blast wave. Velocity overshoot is generated by evaluating sharp thrust through the coupling calculation, and the flight height becomes 6% larger than conventional prediction using the impulse data.

  6. ALT space shuttle barometric altimeter altitude analysis

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Killen, R.

    1978-01-01

    The accuracy was analyzed of the barometric altimeters onboard the space shuttle orbiter. Altitude estimates from the air data systems including the operational instrumentation and the developmental flight instrumentation were obtained for each of the approach and landing test flights. By comparing the barometric altitude estimates to altitudes derived from radar tracking data filtered through a Kalman filter and fully corrected for atmospheric refraction, the errors in the barometric altitudes were shown to be 4 to 5 percent of the Kalman altitudes. By comparing the altitude determined from the true atmosphere derived from weather balloon data to the altitude determined from the U.S. Standard Atmosphere of 1962, it was determined that the assumption of the Standard Atmosphere equations contributes roughly 75 percent of the total error in the baro estimates. After correcting the barometric altitude estimates using an average summer model atmosphere computed for the average latitude of the space shuttle landing sites, the residual error in the altitude estimates was reduced to less than 373 feet. This corresponds to an error of less than 1.5 percent for altitudes above 4000 feet for all flights.

  7. Space Operation of the MOLA Laser

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Afzal, Robert S.

    2000-01-01

    Interest in lasers for space applications such as active remote sensing in Earth orbit, planetary science, and inter-satellite laser communications is growing. These instruments typically use diode-pumped solid state lasers for the laser transmitter. The mission specifications and constraints of space qualification, place strict requirements on the design and operation of the laser. Although a laser can be built in the laboratory to meet performance specifications relatively routinely, tile mission constraints demand unique options and compromises in the materials used, and design to ensure the success of the mission. Presently, the best laser architecture for a light weight, rugged, high peak power and efficient transmitter is a diode laser pumped ND:YAG laser. Diode lasers can often obviate the need for water cooling, reduce the size and weight of the laser, increase the electrical to optical efficiency, system reliability, and lifetime. This paper describes the in-space operation and performance of the Mars Orbiter Laser Altimeter (MOLA) laser transmitter, representing the current state-of-the-art in space-based solid- state lasers.

  8. Analysis of TOPEX laser retroreflector array characteristics

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Varghese, Thomas K.

    1993-01-01

    The joint U.S./French TOPEX/POSEIDON mission was successfully launched on August 10, 1992 for the study of ocean height variation using microwave altimetry. Accurate determination of the satellite orbit is paramount to the determination of the above phenomenon. To accomplish this, using laser ranging, the satellite is equipped with a laser retroreflector array (LRA) around the altimeter antennae. The goal of laser ranging is to obtain precision orbits with a radial accuracy of 13 cm to the center of mass of the satellite. This requires the laser range correction to the LRA reference be known at the sub-cm level and is quite a challenge considering the geometry of the LRA. Detailed studies were initiated by the TOPEX project office (Christensen) under the auspices of the CDP/DOSE project (Degnan) at Goddard Space Flight Center.

  9. 13 Years of TOPEX/POSEIDON Precision Orbit Determination and the 10-fold Improvement in Expected Orbit Accuracy

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Lemoine, F. G.; Zelensky, N. P.; Luthcke, S. B.; Rowlands, D. D.; Beckley, B. D.; Klosko, S. M.

    2006-01-01

    Launched in the summer of 1992, TOPEX/POSEIDON (T/P) was a joint mission between NASA and the Centre National d Etudes Spatiales (CNES), the French Space Agency, to make precise radar altimeter measurements of the ocean surface. After the remarkably successful 13-years of mapping the ocean surface T/P lost its ability to maneuver and was de-commissioned January 2006. T/P revolutionized the study of the Earth s oceans by vastly exceeding pre-launch estimates of surface height accuracy recoverable from radar altimeter measurements. The precision orbit lies at the heart of the altimeter measurement providing the reference frame from which the radar altimeter measurements are made. The expected quality of orbit knowledge had limited the measurement accuracy expectations of past altimeter missions, and still remains a major component in the error budget of all altimeter missions. This paper describes critical improvements made to the T/P orbit time series over the 13-years of precise orbit determination (POD) provided by the GSFC Space Geodesy Laboratory. The POD improvements from the pre-launch T/P expectation of radial orbit accuracy and Mission requirement of 13-cm to an expected accuracy of about 1.5-cm with today s latest orbits will be discussed. The latest orbits with 1.5 cm RMS radial accuracy represent a significant improvement to the 2.0-cm accuracy orbits currently available on the T/P Geophysical Data Record (GDR) altimeter product.

  10. Simple Laser Communications Terminal for Downlink from Earth Orbit at Rates Exceeding 10 Gb/s

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Kovalik, Joseph M.; Hemmati, Hamid; Biswas, Abhijit; Roberts, William T.

    2013-01-01

    A compact, low-cost laser communications transceiver was prototyped for downlinking data at 10 Gb/s from Earth-orbiting spacecraft. The design can be implemented using flight-grade parts. With emphasis on simplicity, compactness, and light weight of the flight transceiver, the reduced-complexity design and development approach involves: 1. A high-bandwidth coarse wavelength division multiplexed (CWDM) (4 2.5 or 10-Gb/s data-rate) downlink transmitter. To simplify the system, emphasis is on the downlink. Optical uplink data rate is modest (due to existing and adequate RF uplink capability). 2. Highly simplified and compact 5-cm diameter clear aperture optics assembly is configured to single transmit and receive aperture laser signals. About 2 W of 4-channel multiplexed (1,540 to 1,555 nm) optically amplified laser power is coupled to the optical assembly through a fiber optic cable. It contains a highly compact, precision-pointing capability two-axis gimbal assembly to coarse point the optics assembly. A fast steering mirror, built into the optical path of the optical assembly, is used to remove residual pointing disturbances from the gimbal. Acquisition, pointing, and tracking are assisted by a beacon laser transmitted from the ground and received by the optical assembly, which will allow transmission of a laser beam. 3. Shifting the link burden to the ground by relying on direct detection optical receivers retrofitted to 1-m-diameter ground telescopes. 4. Favored mass and volume reduction over power-consumption reduction. The two major variables that are available include laser transmit power at either end of the link, and telescope aperture diameter at each end of the link. Increased laser power is traded for smaller-aperture diameters. 5. Use of commercially available spacequalified or qualifiable components with traceability to flight qualification (i.e., a flight-qualified version is commercially available). An example is use of Telecordia-qualified fiber

  11. NASA Wallops Flight Center GEOS-3 altimeter data processing report

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Stanley, H. R.; Dwyer, R. E.

    1980-01-01

    The procedures used to process the GEOS-3 radar altimeter data from raw telemetry data to a final user data product are described. In addition, the radar altimeter hardware design and operating parameters are presented to aid the altimeter user in understanding the altimeter data.

  12. Dynamic test of radio altimeter based on IQ modulation

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Pan, Hongfei; Tian, Yu; Li, Miao

    2010-08-01

    This paper based on the analysis and research of radio altimeter and its basic principles, it introduces a design for I/Q modulator's radio altimeter testing system. Further, data got from the test had been analyzed. Combined with the testing data of the altimeter, a construction of the I/Q modulator's radio altimeter testing system is built.

  13. A Real-Time Orbit Determination Method for Smooth Transition from Optical Tracking to Laser Ranging of Debris

    PubMed Central

    Li, Bin; Sang, Jizhang; Zhang, Zhongping

    2016-01-01

    A critical requirement to achieve high efficiency of debris laser tracking is to have sufficiently accurate orbit predictions (OP) in both the pointing direction (better than 20 arc seconds) and distance from the tracking station to the debris objects, with the former more important than the latter because of the narrow laser beam. When the two line element (TLE) is used to provide the orbit predictions, the resultant pointing errors are usually on the order of tens to hundreds of arc seconds. In practice, therefore, angular observations of debris objects are first collected using an optical tracking sensor, and then used to guide the laser beam pointing to the objects. The manual guidance may cause interrupts to the laser tracking, and consequently loss of valuable laser tracking data. This paper presents a real-time orbit determination (OD) and prediction method to realize smooth and efficient debris laser tracking. The method uses TLE-computed positions and angles over a short-arc of less than 2 min as observations in an OD process where simplified force models are considered. After the OD convergence, the OP is performed from the last observation epoch to the end of the tracking pass. Simulation and real tracking data processing results show that the pointing prediction errors are usually less than 10″, and the distance errors less than 100 m, therefore, the prediction accuracy is sufficient for the blind laser tracking. PMID:27347958

  14. A Real-Time Orbit Determination Method for Smooth Transition from Optical Tracking to Laser Ranging of Debris.

    PubMed

    Li, Bin; Sang, Jizhang; Zhang, Zhongping

    2016-01-01

    A critical requirement to achieve high efficiency of debris laser tracking is to have sufficiently accurate orbit predictions (OP) in both the pointing direction (better than 20 arc seconds) and distance from the tracking station to the debris objects, with the former more important than the latter because of the narrow laser beam. When the two line element (TLE) is used to provide the orbit predictions, the resultant pointing errors are usually on the order of tens to hundreds of arc seconds. In practice, therefore, angular observations of debris objects are first collected using an optical tracking sensor, and then used to guide the laser beam pointing to the objects. The manual guidance may cause interrupts to the laser tracking, and consequently loss of valuable laser tracking data. This paper presents a real-time orbit determination (OD) and prediction method to realize smooth and efficient debris laser tracking. The method uses TLE-computed positions and angles over a short-arc of less than 2 min as observations in an OD process where simplified force models are considered. After the OD convergence, the OP is performed from the last observation epoch to the end of the tracking pass. Simulation and real tracking data processing results show that the pointing prediction errors are usually less than 10″, and the distance errors less than 100 m, therefore, the prediction accuracy is sufficient for the blind laser tracking. PMID:27347958

  15. Evaluation of Gravitational Field Models Based on the Laser Range Observation of Low Earth Orbit Satellites

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Wang, H. B.; Zhao, C. Y.; Zhang, W.; Zhan, J. W.; Yu, S. X.

    2015-09-01

    The Earth gravitational filed model is a kind of important dynamic model in satellite orbit computation. In recent years, several space gravity missions have obtained great success, prompting a lot of gravitational filed models to be published. In this paper, 2 classical models (JGM3, EGM96) and 4 latest models, including EIGEN-CHAMP05S, GGM03S, GOCE02S, and EGM2008 are evaluated by being employed in the precision orbit determination (POD) and prediction, based on the laser range observation of four low earth orbit (LEO) satellites, including CHAMP, GFZ-1, GRACE-A, and SWARM-A. The residual error of observation in POD is adopted to describe the accuracy of six gravitational field models. We show the main results as follows: (1) for LEO POD, the accuracies of 4 latest models (EIGEN-CHAMP05S, GGM03S, GOCE02S, and EGM2008) are at the same level, and better than those of 2 classical models (JGM3, EGM96); (2) If taking JGM3 as reference, EGM96 model's accuracy is better in most situations, and the accuracies of the 4 latest models are improved by 12%-47% in POD and 63% in prediction, respectively. We also confirm that the model's accuracy in POD is enhanced with the increasing degree and order if they are smaller than 70, and when they exceed 70 the accuracy keeps stable, and is unrelated with the increasing degree, meaning that the model's degree and order truncated to 70 are sufficient to meet the requirement of LEO orbit computation with centimeter level precision.

  16. Validation of satellite altimeter range measurements over salar de Uyuni, Bolivia

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Fricker, H. A.; Roca, M.; Laxon, S. W.; Carabajal, C. C.; Quinn, K.; Borsa, A. A.; Minster, J. B.

    2003-12-01

    The salar de Uyuni in the Bolivian altiplano covers approximately 9600 km2, and is the largest dry salt lake in the world. This vast, flat stable surface is ideal for estimation of the range bias on altimeter instruments such as GLAS on board ICESat (launched 12th January 2003), RA-2 on board ENVISAT (launched March 1st 2002) and the ERS-2 radar altimeter (RA, launched 1995), and to compare the measurements from these altimeters. Here we describe a kinematic GPS survey of the salar de Uyuni that was carried out in August/September 2002 and was designed to calibrate GLAS and RA-2. The eastern part of the salar was surveyed with 8 grids 22.5 km x 13.5 km at 2.25 km spacing, and with 2 grids which straddled one ascending and one descending ERS-2/ENVISAT orbit across this part of the salar, one 44.5 x 9 km, the other 18 x 13.5 km. Comparison of GPS heights from one GPS grid to the next and crossover analysis at intersections suggests that RMS accuracy of the GPS measurement is around 2 cm. We retracked the altimeter waveforms by fitting the system point target response to retrieve the altimeter surface elevation. We fitted a gaussian-smoothed surface to the GPS heights collected around the ERS-2/ENVISAT grids and interpolated these surfaces to the locations of altimeter footprints to obtain an estimate of the range bias for each instruments (GLAS, RA-2 and the ERS-2 RA). We also compare our results with data from one cycle of TOPEX data, which was collected during an orbit manoeuvre phase in September 2002. Ground tracks from this cycle serendipitously crossed our survey area at the same time we were on the ground.

  17. Variable fidelity robust optimization of pulsed laser orbital debris removal under epistemic uncertainty

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hou, Liqiang; Cai, Yuanli; Liu, Jin; Hou, Chongyuan

    2016-04-01

    A variable fidelity robust optimization method for pulsed laser orbital debris removal (LODR) under uncertainty is proposed. Dempster-shafer theory of evidence (DST), which merges interval-based and probabilistic uncertainty modeling, is used in the robust optimization. The robust optimization method optimizes the performance while at the same time maximizing its belief value. A population based multi-objective optimization (MOO) algorithm based on a steepest descent like strategy with proper orthogonal decomposition (POD) is used to search robust Pareto solutions. Analytical and numerical lifetime predictors are used to evaluate the debris lifetime after the laser pulses. Trust region based fidelity management is designed to reduce the computational cost caused by the expensive model. When the solutions fall into the trust region, the analytical model is used to reduce the computational cost. The proposed robust optimization method is first tested on a set of standard problems and then applied to the removal of Iridium 33 with pulsed lasers. It will be shown that the proposed approach can identify the most robust solutions with minimum lifetime under uncertainty.

  18. Millimeter Laser Ranging to the Moon: prospects and challenges in improving the orbital and rotational dynamics

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kopeikin, S.; Pavlis, E.; Pavlis, D.

    2008-09-01

    ABSTRACT Lunar Laser Ranging (LLR) measurements are crucial for advanced exploration of the laws of fundamental gravitational physics and geophysics as well as for future human and robotic missions to the Moon. The corner-cube reflectors (CCR) currently on the Moon require no power and still work perfectly since their installation during the project Apollo era. Current LLR technology allows us to measure distances to the Moon with a precision approaching one millimeter [1]. As NASA, ESA, and other space agencies pursues the vision of taking humans back to the Moon, new, more precise laser ranging applications will be demanded, including continuous tracking from more sites on Earth, placing new CCR arrays on the Moon, and possibly installing other devices such as transponders, etc. for multiple scientific and technical purposes [2]. Since this effort involves humans in space, then in all situations the accuracy, fidelity, and robustness of the measurements, their adequate interpretation, and any products based on them, are of utmost importance. Successful achievement of this goal strongly demands further significant improvement of the theoretical model of the orbital and rotational dynamics of the Earth-Moon system. This model should inevitably be based on the theory of general relativity, fully incorporate the relevant geophysical processes, lunar librations, tides, and should rely upon the most recent standards and recommendations of the IAU for data analysis [3]. This talk discusses theoretical ideas, methods and challenges in developing such an advanced mathematical model. The model will take into account all the classical and relativistic effects in the orbital and rotational motion of the Moon and Earth at the millimeter precision. The model is supposed to be implemented as a part of the computer code underlying NASA Goddard's orbital analysis and geophysical parameter estimation package GEODYN [4]. The new model will allow us to make more precise altimetry of

  19. Orbit determination and gravity field recovery from tracking data to the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Maier, Andrea; Baur, Oliver

    2015-04-01

    The Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO), launched in 2009, is well suited for the estimation of the long wavelengths of the lunar gravity field due to its low altitude of 50 km. Further, the orbit of LRO was polar for two years providing global coverage. The satellite has been primarily tracked via S-band (mainly two-way Doppler range-rates and two-way radiometric ranges) from the dedicated station in White Sands and from the Universal Space Network (USN). Due to the onboard altimeter the orbital precision requirement in the radial direction was rigorously defined as 1m. Because simulation studies before LRO's launch showed that this precision could not be reached with S-band observations alone, it was decided to additionally track LRO via optical laser ranges. It is worthwhile to point out that LRO is the first spacecraft in interplanetary space routinely tracked with optical one-way laser ranges. Gravity field recovery from orbit perturbations is intrinsically related to precise orbit determination. This is why considerable effort was made to find the optimum settings for orbit modeling. For a time span of three months we conducted a series of orbit overlapping tests based on Doppler observations to find the optimum arc length and the optimum set of empirical parameters. The analysis of observation residuals and orbit overlap differences showed that the estimated orbits are most precise when subdividing the time span into 2.5 days and estimating one constant empirical acceleration in along track direction. These settings were then used to analyze 13 months of Doppler data to LRO. The processing of the optical one-way laser was difficult due to the involvement of two non-synchronous clocks in one measurement (one clock at the ground station and one clock onboard LRO). The NASA software GEODYN, which was used for orbit determination and parameter estimation, models the LRO clock using a drift rate (first-order term) and an aging rate (second-order term). It seems

  20. Orbiters for Callisto and Titan - the Affordable Options

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Wenkert, Daniel; Elliott, John O.

    2014-11-01

    Low cost missions to orbit the icy satellites of outer planets are possible. Recent studies by the “A Team” at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory have investigated possible configurations and costs of Callisto and Titan orbiters. The Callisto study was done as a demonstration that a scientifically valuable icy moon orbiter could be accomplished within the current Discovery mission cost cap. A solar-powered concept was defined, whose cost was estimated to be below the cost cap, including full reserves. The mission would operate from a low circular orbit (100 km altitude); would carry a medium-resolution visible imaging camera, a laser altimeter, and a magnetometer; and would use Ka-band tracking for gravity studies. The Titan orbiter study was done as part of a set of studies focused on decreasing the costs of several different types of Titan missions. The cost estimated for the orbiter was below the most recent New Frontiers cost cap. The mission would operate from a high circular orbit (1500 km altitude) to reduce atmospheric drag and would carry a medium-resolution infrared imaging camera and a mass spectrometer. Callisto’s distance from Jupiter allows a lower cost orbiter than one for Ganymede or Europa. At Callisto’s distance, the radiation environment is drastically more benign, decreasing the need for electronics hardening and/or radiation shielding and its associated mass. Being further from Jupiter’s gravity well decreases the fuel needed for capture into a Jupiter orbit appropriate for an eventual capture by Callisto. Finally, its lower mass allows Callisto orbit insertion with less fuel than that needed for a similar maneuver at Ganymede. Although costing for the Titan orbiter mission assumed a normal propulsive capture into Saturn orbit, the great extent of Titan’s relatively benign atmosphere should make it possible to aerocapture directly into Titan orbit from interplanetary cruise, at potentially lower cost.

  1. Calibration of Envisat radar altimeter over Lake Issykkul

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Crétaux, J.-F.; Bergé-Nguyen, M.; Calmant, S.; Romanovski, V. V.; Meyssignac, B.; Perosanz, F.; Tashbaeva, S.; Arsen, A.; Fund, F.; Martignago, N.; Bonnefond, P.; Laurain, O.; Morrow, R.; Maisongrande, P.

    2013-04-01

    This study presents the results of calibration/validation (C/V) of Envisat satellite radar altimeter over Lake Issykkul located in Kyrgyzstan, which was chosen as a dedicated radar altimetry C/V site in 2004. The objectives are to estimate the absolute altimeter bias of Envisat and its orbit based on cross-over analysis with TOPEX/Poseidon (T/P), Jason-1 and Jason-2 over the ocean. We have used a new method of GPS data processing in a kinematic mode, developed at the Groupe de Recherche de Geodesie Spatiale (GRGS), which allows us to calculate the position of the GPS antenna without needing a GPS reference station. The C/V is conducted using various equipments: a local GPS network, a moving GPS antenna along the satellites tracks over Lake Issykkul, In Situ level gauges and weather stations. The absolute bias obtained for Envisat from field campaigns conducted in 2009 and 2010 is between 62.1 and 63.4 ± 3.7 cm, using the Ice-1 retracking algorithm, and between 46.9 and 51.2 cm with the ocean retracking algorithm. These results differ by about 10 cm from previous studies, principally due to improvement of the C/V procedure. Apart from the new algorithm for GPS data processing and the orbit error reduction, more attention has been paid to the GPS antenna height calculation, and we have reduced the errors induced by seiche over Lake Issykkul. This has been assured using cruise data along the Envisat satellite track at the exact date of the pass of the satellite for the two campaigns. The calculation of the Envisat radar altimeter bias with respect to the GPS levelling is essential to allow the continuity of multi-mission data on the same orbit, with the expected launch of SARAL/Altika mission in 2012. Implications for hydrology in particular, will be to produce long term homogeneous and reliable time series of lake levels worldwide.

  2. Preliminary design of a smart composite telescope for space laser communication on a satellite for the Geosynchronous orbit

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Ghasemi-Nejhad, Mehrdad N.; Antin, Nicolas

    2011-03-01

    This paper presents a preliminary design of a smart composite telescope for space laser communication. The smart composite telescope will be mounted on a smart composite platform with Simultaneous Precision Positioning and Vibration Suppression (SPPVS), and then mounted on a satellite. The laser communication is intended for the Geosynchronous orbit. The high degree of directionality increases the security of the laser communication signal (as opposed to a diffused RF signal), but also requires sophisticated subsystems for transmission and acquisition. The shorter wavelength of the optical spectrum increases the data transmission rates, but laser systems require large amounts of power, which increases the mass and complexity of the supporting systems. In addition, the laser communication on the Geosynchronous orbit requires an accurate platform with SPPVS capabilities. Therefore, this work also addresses the design of an active composite platform to be used to simultaneously point and stabilize an inter-satellite laser communication telescope with micro-radian pointing resolution. The telescope is a Cassegrain receiver that employs two mirrors, one convex (primary) and the other concave (secondary). The distance, as well as the horizontal and axial alignment of the mirrors, must be precisely maintained or else the optical properties of the system will be severely degraded. The alignment will also have to be maintained during thruster firings, which will require vibration suppression capabilities of the system as well. The innovative platform has been designed to have tip-tilt pointing and simultaneous multi-degree-of- freedom vibration isolation capability for pointing stabilization.

  3. Manipulating femtosecond spin-orbit torques with laser pulse sequences to control magnetic memory states and ringing

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Lingos, P. C.; Wang, J.; Perakis, I. E.

    2015-05-01

    Femtosecond (fs) coherent control of collective order parameters is important for nonequilibrium phase dynamics in correlated materials. Here, we propose such control of ferromagnetic order based on using nonadiabatic optical manipulation of electron-hole (e -h ) photoexcitations to create fs carrier-spin pulses with controllable direction and time profile. These spin pulses are generated due to the time-reversal symmetry breaking arising from nonperturbative spin-orbit and magnetic exchange couplings of coherent photocarriers. By tuning the nonthermal populations of exchange-split, spin-orbit-coupled semiconductor band states, we can excite fs spin-orbit torques that control complex magnetization pathways between multiple magnetic memory states. We calculate the laser-induced fs magnetic anisotropy in the time domain by using density matrix equations of motion rather than the quasiequilibrium free energy. By comparing to pump-probe experiments, we identify a "sudden" out-of-plane magnetization canting displaying fs magnetic hysteresis, which agrees with switchings measured by the static Hall magnetoresistivity. This fs transverse spin-canting switches direction with magnetic state and laser frequency, which distinguishes it from the longitudinal nonlinear optical and demagnetization effects. We propose that sequences of clockwise or counterclockwise fs spin-orbit torques, photoexcited by shaping two-color laser-pulse sequences analogous to multidimensional nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy, can be used to timely suppress or enhance magnetic ringing and switching rotation in magnetic memories.

  4. Simulation and assimilation of satellite altimeter data at the oceanic mesoscale

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Demay, P.; Robinson, A. R.

    1984-01-01

    An improved "objective analysis' technique is used along with an altimeter signal statistical model, an altimeter noise statistical model, an orbital model, and synoptic surface current maps in the POLYMODE-SDE area, to evaluate the performance of various observational strategies in catching the mesoscale variability at mid-latitudes. In particular, simulated repetitive nominal orbits of ERS-1, TOPEX, and SPOT/POSEIDON are examined. Results show the critical importance of existence of a subcycle, scanning in either direction. Moreover, long repeat cycles ( 20 days) and short cross-track distances ( 300 km) seem preferable, since they match mesoscale statistics. Another goal of the study is to prepare and discuss sea-surface height (SSH) assimilation in quasigeostrophic models. Restored SSH maps are shown to meet that purpose, if an efficient extrapolation method or deep in-situ data (floats) are used on the vertical to start and update the model.

  5. Electromagnetic launch, then lessening chemical thrust over time as laser beam powered ion thrust grows{emdash}to any orbit

    SciTech Connect

    Morse, T.M.

    1996-03-01

    The ElectroMagnetic (EM) Launch Tube (LT), using High-Temp SuperConduction (HTSC) EM launch coils if developed, will be built in a tall building, or, if not, at a steep angle up the west slope of an extinct volcano. The Reusable Launch Vehicle (RLV) exits the LT at such high velocity that the otherwise violent entry into the atmosphere is made possible by Special-Laser-Launch-Assist (SLLA), which ionizes and expands the atmosphere immediately ahead of the RLV. At first a brief period of chemical thrust is followed by a long period of ion thrust during ascent to orbit. As decades pass and greater ion thrust is developed, the period of chemical thrust shortens until it is no longer needed. The RLV{close_quote}s ion thrusters are powered by laser/maser, beamed first from the launch site, then from two large Solar-Power-Satellites (SPS) 180{degree} apart in Medium Earth Orbit (MEO) orbit. In orbit, the RLV is limited in where it can go only by the amount of propellant it carries or is stored in various orbits. The RLV can land at a launch site on Earth by using both chemical and ion thrust at first, and later by ion thrust alone as developments cause a far lighter RLV to carry no chemical engines/fuel/tanks. {copyright} {ital 1996 American Institute of Physics.}

  6. Photon self-induced spin-to-orbital conversion in a terbium-gallium-garnet crystal at high laser power

    SciTech Connect

    Mosca, S.; De Rosa, R.; Milano, L.; Canuel, B.; Genin, E.; Karimi, E.; Piccirillo, B.; Santamato, E.; Marrucci, L.

    2010-10-15

    In this paper, we present experimental evidence of a third-order nonlinear optical process, self-induced spin-to-orbital conversion (SISTOC) of the photon angular momentum. This effect is the physical mechanism at the origin of the depolarization of very intense laser beams propagating in isotropic materials. The SISTOC process, like self-focusing, is triggered by laser heating leading to a radial temperature gradient in the medium. In this work we tested the occurrence of SISTOC in a terbium-gallium-garnet rod for an impinging laser power of about 100 W. To study the SISTOC process we used different techniques: polarization analysis, interferometry, and tomography of the photon orbital angular momentum. Our results confirm, in particular, that the apparent depolarization of the beam is due to the occurrence of maximal entanglement between the spin and orbital angular momentum of the photons undergoing the SISTOC process. This explanation of the true nature of the depolarization mechanism could be of some help in finding novel methods to reduce or to compensate for this usually unwanted depolarization effect in all cases where very high laser power and good beam quality are required.

  7. An Evaluation of Recent Gravity Models wrt. Altimeter Satellite Missions

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Lemoine, Frank G.; Zelensky, N. P.; Luthcke, S. B.; Beckley, B. D.; Chinn, D. S.; Rowlands, D. D.

    2003-01-01

    With the launch of CHAMP and GRACE, we have entered a new phase in the history of satellite geodesy. For the first time, geopotential models are now available based almost exclusively on satellite-satellite tracking either with GPS in the case of the CHAMP-based geopotential models, or co-orbital intersatellite ultra-precise ranging in the case of GRACE. Different groups have analyzed these data, and produced a series of geopotential models (e.g., EIGENlS, EIGEN2, GGM0lS, GGMOlC) that incorporate the new data. We will compare the performance of these "newer" geopotential models with the standard models now used for computations, (e.g., JGM-3, BGM-96, PGS7727, and GRIMS-C1) for TOPEX, JASON, Geosat-Follow-On (GFO), and Envisat using standard metrics such as SLR RMS of fit, altimeter crossovers, and orbit overlaps. Where covariances are available we can evaluate the predicted geographically correlated orbit error. These predicted results can be compared with the Earth-fixed differences between dynamic and reduced-dynamic orbits to test the predictive accuracy of the covariances, as well as to calibrate the error of the solutions.

  8. Verification and Improvement of ERS-1/2 Altimeter Geophysical Data Records for Global Change Studies

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Shum, C. K.

    2000-01-01

    This Final Technical Report summarizes the research work conducted under NASA's Physical Oceanography Program entitled, Verification And Improvement Of ERS-112 Altimeter Geophysical Data Recorders For Global Change Studies, for the time period from January 1, 2000 through June 30, 2000. This report also provides a summary of the investigation from July 1, 1997 - June 30, 2000. The primary objectives of this investigation include verification and improvement of the ERS-1 and ERS-2 radar altimeter geophysical data records for distribution of the data to the ESA-approved U.S. ERS-1/-2 investigators for global climate change studies. Specifically, the investigation is to verify and improve the ERS geophysical data record products by calibrating the instrument and assessing accuracy for the ERS-1/-2 orbital, geophysical, media, and instrument corrections. The purpose is to ensure that the consistency of constants, standards and algorithms with TOPEX/POSEIDON radar altimeter for global climate change studies such as the monitoring and interpretation of long-term sea level change. This investigation has provided the current best precise orbits, with the radial orbit accuracy for ERS-1 (Phases C-G) and ERS-2 estimated at the 3-5 cm rms level, an 30-fold improvement compared to the 1993 accuracy. We have finalized the production and verification of the value-added ERS-1 mission (Phases A, B, C, D, E, F, and G), in collaboration with JPL PODAAC and the University of Texas. Orbit and data verification and improvement of algorithms led to the best data product available to-date. ERS-2 altimeter data have been improved and we have been active on Envisat (2001 launch) GDR algorithm review and improvement. The data improvement of ERS-1 and ERS-2 led to improvement in the global mean sea surface, marine gravity anomaly and bathymetry models, and a study of Antarctica mass balance, which was published in Science in 1998.

  9. Calibration results for the GEOS-3 altimeter

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Martin, C. F.; Butler, M. L.

    1977-01-01

    Data from the GEOS-3 altimeter were analyzed, for both the intensive and global modes, to determine the altitude bias levels for each mode and to verify the accuracy of the time tags which have been applied to the data. The best estimates of the biases are -5.30 + or - .2 m (intensive mode) and -3.55 m + or - .4 m (global mode). These values include the approximately 1.6 m offset of the altimeter antenna focal point from the GEOS-3 spacecraft center-of-mass. The negative signs indicate that the measured altitudes are too short. The data is corrected by subtracting the above bias numbers for the respective modes. Timing corrections which should be applied to the altimeter data were calculated theoretically, and subsequently confirmed through crossover analysis for passes 6-8 revolutions apart. The time tag correction that should be applied consists of -20.8 msec + 1 interpulse period (10.240512 msec).

  10. Seasat altimeter determination of ocean current variability

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Bernstein, R. L.; Whritner, R. H.; Born, G. H.

    1982-01-01

    An experiment conducted in the Kuroshio Current, east of Japan, has confirmed the ability of radar altimeters of precision on the order of 10 cm, such as that of the Seasat satellite, to measure the small oceanic height variations associated with geostrophic ocean currents. Changes in surface dynamic height were inferred from data gathered by air-expendable barithermographs, which had been dropped to coincide with the Seasat subtrack, for the periods between the flights of September 25 and October 5 and 13, 1978. The changes registered generally agreed to within + or - 10 cm of the height changes observed in the altimeter data.

  11. Remote sensing of Gulf Stream using GEOS-3 radar altimeter

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Leitao, C. D.; Huang, N. E.; Parra, C. G.

    1978-01-01

    Radar altimeter measurements from the GEOS-3 satellite to the ocean surface indicated the presence of expected geostrophic height differences across the the Gulf Stream. Dynamic sea surface heights were found by both editing and filtering the raw sea surface heights and then referencing these processed data to a 5 minute x 5 minute geoid. Any trend between the processed data and the geoid was removed by subtracting out a linear fit to the residuals in the open ocean. The mean current velocity of 107 + or - 29 cm/sec calculated from the dynamic heights for all orbits corresponded with velocities obtained from hydrographic methods. Also, dynamic topographic maps were produced for August, September, and October 1975. Results pointed out limitations in the accuracy of the geoid, height anomaly deteriorations due to filtering, and lack of dense time and space distribution of measurements.

  12. Atmospheric influences on infrared-laser signals used for occultation measurements between Low Earth Orbit satellites

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Schweitzer, S.; Kirchengast, G.; Proschek, V.

    2011-10-01

    LEO-LEO infrared-laser occultation (LIO) is a new occultation technique between Low Earth Orbit (LEO) satellites, which applies signals in the short wave infrared spectral range (SWIR) within 2 μm to 2.5 μm. It is part of the LEO-LEO microwave and infrared-laser occultation (LMIO) method that enables to retrieve thermodynamic profiles (pressure, temperature, humidity) and altitude levels from microwave signals and profiles of greenhouse gases and further variables such as line-of-sight wind speed from simultaneously measured LIO signals. Due to the novelty of the LMIO method, detailed knowledge of atmospheric influences on LIO signals and of their suitability for accurate trace species retrieval did not yet exist. Here we discuss these influences, assessing effects from refraction, trace species absorption, aerosol extinction and Rayleigh scattering in detail, and addressing clouds, turbulence, wind, scattered solar radiation and terrestrial thermal radiation as well. We show that the influence of refractive defocusing, foreign species absorption, aerosols and turbulence is observable, but can be rendered small to negligible by use of the differential transmission principle with a close frequency spacing of LIO absorption and reference signals within 0.5%. The influences of Rayleigh scattering and terrestrial thermal radiation are found negligible. Cloud-scattered solar radiation can be observable under bright-day conditions, but this influence can be made negligible by a close time spacing (within 5 ms) of interleaved laser-pulse and background signals. Cloud extinction loss generally blocks SWIR signals, except very thin or sub-visible cirrus clouds, which can be addressed by retrieving a cloud layering profile and exploiting it in the trace species retrieval. Wind can have a small influence on the trace species absorption, which can be made negligible by using a simultaneously retrieved or a moderately accurate background wind speed profile. We conclude that

  13. In-orbit verification of small optical transponder (SOTA): evaluation of satellite-to-ground laser communication links

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Takenaka, Hideki; Koyama, Yoshisada; Akioka, Maki; Kolev, Dimitar; Iwakiri, Naohiko; Kunimori, Hiroo; Carrasco-Casado, Alberto; Munemasa, Yasushi; Okamoto, Eiji; Toyoshima, Morio

    2016-03-01

    Research and development of space optical communications is conducted in the National Institute of Information and Communications Technology (NICT). The NICT developed the Small Optical TrAnsponder (SOTA), which was embarked on a 50kg-class satellite and launched into a low earth orbit (LEO). The space-to-ground laser communication experiments have been conducted with the SOTA. Atmospheric turbulence causes signal fadings and becomes an issue to be solved in satellite-to-ground laser communication links. Therefore, as error-correcting functions, a Reed-Solomon (RS) code and a Low-Density Generator Matrix (LDGM) code are implemented in the communication system onboard the SOTA. In this paper, we present the in-orbit verification results of SOTA including the characteristic of the functions, the communication performance with the LDGM code via satellite-to-ground atmospheric paths, and the link budget analysis and the comparison between theoretical and experimental results.

  14. Multiple-Zone Diffractive Optic Element for Laser Ranging Applications

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Ramos-Izquierdo, Luis A.

    2011-01-01

    A diffractive optic element (DOE) can be used as a beam splitter to generate multiple laser beams from a single input laser beam. This technology has been recently used in LRO s Lunar Orbiter Laser Altimeter (LOLA) instrument to generate five laser beams that measure the lunar topography from a 50-km nominal mapping orbit (see figure). An extension of this approach is to use a multiple-zone DOE to allow a laser altimeter instrument to operate over a wider range of distances. In particular, a multiple-zone DOE could be used for applications that require both mapping and landing on a planetary body. In this case, the laser altimeter operating range would need to extend from several hundred kilometers down to a few meters. The innovator was recently involved in an investigation how to modify the LOLA instrument for the OSIRIS asteroid mapping and sample return mission. One approach is to replace the DOE in the LOLA laser beam expander assembly with a multiple-zone DOE that would allow for the simultaneous illumination of the asteroid with mapping and landing laser beams. The proposed OSIRIS multiple-zone DOE would generate the same LOLA five-beam output pattern for high-altitude topographic mapping, but would simultaneously generate a wide divergence angle beam using a small portion of the total laser energy for the approach and landing portion of the mission. Only a few percent of the total laser energy is required for approach and landing operations as the return signal increases as the inverse square of the ranging height. A wide divergence beam could be implemented by making the center of the DOE a diffractive or refractive negative lens. The beam energy and beam divergence characteristics of a multiple-zone DOE could be easily tailored to meet the requirements of other missions that require laser ranging data. Current single-zone DOE lithographic manufacturing techniques could also be used to fabricate a multiple-zone DOE by masking the different DOE zones during

  15. An atlas of 1975 GEOS-3 radar altimeter data for hurricane/tropical disturbance studies, volume 1

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Stanley, H. R.; Chan, B.; Munson, J. R.

    1977-01-01

    Geographic locations of 1975 hurricanes and other tropical disturbances were correlated with the closest approaching orbits of the GEOS-3 satellite and its radar altimeter. The disturbance locations and altimeter data were gathered for a seven-month period beginning with GEOS-3 launch in mid-April 1975. Areas of coverage were the Atlantic Ocean, the Carribean, the Gulf of Mexico, the west coast of the continental United States, and the central and western Pacific Ocean. Volume 1 contains disturbance coverage data for the Atlantic Ocean, Gulf of Mexico, and Eastern Pacific Ocean. Central and Western Pacific coverage is documented in Volume II.

  16. Orbital angular momentum of a laser beam in a turbulent medium: preservation of the average value and variance of fluctuations

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Aksenov, V. P.; Kolosov, V. V.; Filimonov, G. A.; Pogutsa, C. E.

    2016-05-01

    The process of the propagation of vortex laser beams in a turbulent atmosphere with recording of the total orbital angular momentum (OAM) and determination of the beam’s statistical characteristics, such as the average over realizations of the turbulent medium and the variance of fluctuations, has been simulated numerically. The dependences of OAM fluctuations on the turbulence intensity and the initial topological charge of the beam have been obtained. Numerical results are compared with the earlier asymptotic estimates.

  17. Adapting a ground-based laser ranging system at NASA-GSFC for identification and tracking of orbital debris

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Coyle, D. B.; Stysley, Paul R.; McGarry, Jan F.; Hull, Scott M.; Getzandanner, Kenneth M.; Young, Romae P.

    2013-05-01

    The mitigation of orbital debris was addressed in the most recent release of the National Space Policy directing space faring agencies to pursue technologies that will "mitigate and remove on-orbit debris." No matter what abatement technology is developed and deployed, still lacking is the remote sensing infrastructure to locate and track these objects with adequate precision. We propose using GSFC's ground-based laser ranging facility to provide meter-level or better ranging precision on optically passive 10-30 cm orbital debris targets with the goal of improving current predictions up to 85%. The improved location accuracy also has the immediate benefit of reducing costly false alarms in collision predictions for existing assets.

  18. Effects of electromagnetic wiggler and ion channel guiding on equilibrium orbits and waves propagation in a free electron laser

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Amri, Hassan Ehsani; Mohsenpour, Taghi

    2016-02-01

    In this paper, an analysis of equilibrium orbits for electrons by a simultaneous solution of the equation of motion and the dispersion relation for electromagnetic wave wiggler in a free-electron laser (FEL) with ion-channel guiding has been presented. A fluid model has been used to investigate interactions among all possible waves. The dispersion relation has been derived for electrostatic and electromagnetic waves with all relativistic effects included. This dispersion relation has been solved numerically. For group I and II orbits, when the transverse velocity is small, only the FEL instability is found. In group I and II orbits with relatively large transverse velocity, new couplings between other modes are found.

  19. Correlated Observations of Epithermal Neutrons and Polar Illumination for Orbital Neutron Detectors

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    McClanahan, T. P.; Mitrofanov, I. G.; Boynton, W. V.; Chin, G.; Droege, G.; Evans, L. G.; Garvin, J.; Harshman, K.; Malakhov, A.; Livengood, T.; Milikh, G. M.; Namkung, M.; Nandikotkur, G.; Neumann, G.; Smith, D.; Sagdeev, R.; Sanin, A. G.; Starr, R. D.; Trombka, J. I.

    2012-01-01

    We correlate Lunar Reconnaisance Orbiter's (LRO) Lunar Exploration Neutron Detector (LEND) and the Lunar Prospector Neutron Spectrometer's (LPNS) orbital epithermal neutron maps of the Lunar high-latitudes with co-registered illumination maps derived from the Lunar Orbiter Laser Altimeter (LOLA) topography. Epithermal neutron count rate maps were derived from the LEND: 1) Collimated Sensor for Epithermal Neutrons, CSETNI-4 2) Uncollimated Sensor for Epithermal Neutrons, SETN and the Uncollimated Lunar Prospector: 3) Low-altitude and 4) High-altitude mapping phases. In this abstract we illustrate 1) and 3) and include 2) and 4) in our presentation. The correlative study provides unique perspectives on the regional epithermal neutron fluences from the Lunar polar regions under different detector and altitude configurations.

  20. Excitation two-center interference and the orbital geometry in laser-induced nonsequential double ionization of diatomic molecules

    SciTech Connect

    Shaaran, T.; Augstein, B. B.; Figueira de Morisson Faria, C.

    2011-07-15

    We address the influence of the molecular orbital geometry and of the molecular alignment with respect to the laser-field polarization on laser-induced nonsequential double ionization of diatomic molecules for different molecular species, namely N{sub 2} and Li{sub 2}. We focus on the recollision excitation with subsequent tunneling ionization (RESI) mechanism, in which the first electron, upon return, promotes the second electron to an excited state, from where it subsequently tunnels. We assume that both electrons are initially in the highest occupied molecular orbital (HOMO) and that the second electron is excited to the lowest unoccupied molecular orbital (LUMO). We show that the electron-momentum distributions exhibit interference maxima and minima due to the electron emission at spatially separated centers. We provide generalized analytical expressions for such maxima or minima, which take into account s-p mixing and the orbital geometry. The patterns caused by the two-center interference are sharpest for vanishing alignment angle and get washed out as this parameter increases. Apart from that, there exist features due to the geometry of the LUMO, which may be observed for a wide range of alignment angles. Such features manifest themselves as the suppression of probability density in specific momentum regions due to the shape of the LUMO wave function, or as an overall decrease in the RESI yield due to the presence of nodal planes.

  1. Performance of the GLAS Laser Transmitter in Space

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Yu, Anthony W.; Afzal, Robert S.; Dallas, Joseph L.; Melak, Anthony; Mamakos, William

    2006-01-01

    The Geoscience Laser Altimeter System (GLAS), launched in January 2003, is a laser altimeter and lidar for the Earth Observing System's (EOS) ICESat mission. The laser transmitter requirements, design and qualification test results and in-flight performance for this space-based remote sensing instrument is summarized and presented.

  2. Time-transfer experiments between satellite laser ranging ground stations via one-way laser ranging to the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Mao, D.; Sun, X.; Skillman, D. R.; Mcgarry, J.; Hoffman, E.; Neumann, G. A.; Torrence, M. H.; Smith, D. E.; Zuber, M. T.

    2014-12-01

    Satellite laser ranging (SLR) has long been used to measure the distance from a ground station to an Earth-orbiting satellite in order to determine the spacecraft position in orbit, and to conduct other geodetic measurements such as plate motions. This technique can also be used to transfer time between the station and satellite, and between remote SLR sites, as recently demonstrated by the Time Transfer by Laser Link (T2L2) project by the Centre National d'Etudes Spatiaes (CNES) and Observatorire de la Cote d'Azur (OCA) as well as the Laser Time Transfer (LTT) project by the Shanghai Astronomical Observatory, where two-way and one-way measurements were obtained at the same time. Here we report a new technique to transfer time between distant SLR stations via simultaneous one-way laser ranging (LR) to the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) spacecraft at lunar distance. The major objectives are to establish accurate ground station times and to improve LRO orbit determination via these measurements. The results of these simultaneous LR measurements are used to compare the SLR station times or transfer time from one to the other using times-of-flight estimated from conventional radio frequency tracking of LRO. The accuracy of the time transfer depends only on the difference of the times-of-flight from each ground station to the spacecraft, and is expected to be at sub-nano second level. The technique has been validated by both a ground-based experiment and an experiment that utilized LRO. Here we present the results to show that sub-nanosecond precision and accuracy are achievable. Both experiments were carried out between the primary LRO-LR station, The Next Generation Satellite Laser Ranging (NGSLR) station, and its nearby station, Mobile Laser System (MOBLAS-7), both at Greenbelt, Maryland. The laser transmit time from both stations were recorded by the same event timer referenced to a Hydrogen maser. The results have been compared to data from a common All

  3. Spaceflight laser development for future remote sensing applications

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Yu, Anthony W.; Krainak, Michael A.; Stephen, Mark A.; Abshire, James B.; Harding, David J.; Riris, Haris; Li, Steven X.; Chen, Jeffrey R.; Allan, Graham R.; Numata, Kenji; Wu, Stewart T.; Camp, Jordan B.

    2011-11-01

    At NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center we are developing next generation laser transmitters for future spaceflight, remote instruments including a micropulse altimeter for ice-sheet and sea ice monitoring, laser spectroscopic measurements of atmospheric CO2 and an imaging lidar for high resolution mapping of the Earth's surface. These laser transmitters also have applicability to potential missions to other solar-system bodies for trace gas measurements and surface mapping. In this paper we review NASA spaceflight laser transmitters used to acquire measurements in orbit around Mars, Mercury, Earth and the Moon. We then present an overview of our current spaceflight laser programs and describe their intended uses for remote sensing science and exploration applications.

  4. Laser-induced radial birefringence and spin-to-orbital optical angular momentum conversion in silver-doped glasses

    SciTech Connect

    Amjad, Jafar Mostafavi; Khalesifard, Hamid Reza; Slussarenko, Sergei; Karimi, Ebrahim; Santamato, Enrico; Marrucci, Lorenzo

    2011-07-04

    Samples of Ag{sup +}/Na{sup +} ion-exchanged glass that have been subject to intense laser irradiation may develop novel optical properties, as a consequence of the formation of patterns of silver nanoparticles and other structures. Here, we report the observation of a laser-induced permanent transverse birefringence, with the optical axis forming a radial pattern, as revealed by the spin-to-orbital angular momentum conversion occurring in a probe light beam. The birefringence pattern can be modeled well as resulting from thermally-induced stresses arising in the silver-doped glass during laser exposure, although the actual mechanism leading to the permanent anisotropy is probably more complex.

  5. Antarctic elevation changes and variability from Envisat and ICESat altimeters

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Flament, T.; Berthier, E.; Rémy, F.

    2012-04-01

    From 2002 to 2010, Envisat provided continuous radar altimetry measurements every 35 days. ICESat provided laser altimetry measurement from 2003 to 2009 with a lower temporal sampling but a smaller footprint (~70 m), better suited for ice surfaces. We developed an along-track processing to extract elevation time series every kilometre along track for both altimeters. The processing is a classical least square fit, compensating for the local slope and computing an average height trend over the period (dh/dt). Concerning Envisat, we implement some supplementary corrections to take into account changes in snow-pack characteristics that affect the radar echo. Even if small biases can cause large errors for the continental mass balance (1 cm of ice over 12.106 km2 correspond to 110 Gt), significant elevation changes of ±15 cm/yr can still be observed. Comparison with previous results from ERS-2 reveals large scale variations due to the variability in meteorological forcing, especially in East Antarctica. Some coastal areas are experiencing rapid changes with thinning rates reaching several meters per year. Comparison between ICESat and Envisat over the common 2003-2009 period reveals that ICESat is likely overestimating dh/dt in the inner continent while Envisat encounters problems that become apparent north from 70°S and where surface slope exceeds 1°. Both radar and laser altimeter technologies have advantages and drawbacks and combining both allows to go further in the study of many different phenomena from overall continental mass balance to small scale and rapid events such as subglacial lakes drainage. We will focus on the Pine Island Glacier for mass balance as this basin alone lost about 30km3/yr in the last decade, where both sensors agree. A smaller scale analysis is conducted on the Cook ice shelf (East Antarctica) for a singular lake drainage event.

  6. Improved strong-field approximation and quantum-orbit theory: Application to ionization by a bicircular laser field

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Milošević, D. B.; Becker, W.

    2016-06-01

    A theory of above-threshold ionization of atoms by a strong laser field is formulated. Two versions of the strong-field approximation (SFA) are considered, the direct SFA and the improved SFA, which do not and do, respectively, take into account rescattering of the freed electron off the parent ion. The atomic bound state is included in two different ways: as an expansion in terms of Slater-type orbitals or as an asymptotic wave function. Even though we are using the single-active-electron approximation, multielectron effects are taken into account in two ways: by a proper choice of the ground state and by an adequate definition of the ionization rate. For the case of the asymptotic bound-state wave functions, using the saddle-point method, a simple expression for the T -matrix element is derived for both the direct and the improved SFA. The theory is applied to ionization by a bicircular field, which consists of two coplanar counterrotating circularly polarized components with frequencies that are integer multiples of a fundamental frequency ω . Special emphasis is on the ω -2 ω case. In this case, the threefold rotational symmetry of the field carries over to the velocity map of the liberated electrons, for both the direct and the improved SFA. The results obtained are analyzed in detail using the quantum-orbit formalism, which gives good physical insight into the above-threshold ionization process. For this purpose, a specific classification of the saddle-point solutions is introduced for both the backward-scattered and the forward-scattered electrons. The high-energy backward-scattering quantum orbits are similar to those discovered for high-order harmonic generation. The short forward-scattering quantum orbits for a bicircular field are similar to those of a linearly polarized field. The conclusion is that these orbits are universal, i.e., they do not depend much on the shape of the laser field.

  7. First MESSENGER orbital observations of Mercury's librations

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Stark, Alexander; Oberst, Jürgen; Preusker, Frank; Peale, Stanton J.; Margot, Jean-Luc; Phillips, Roger J.; Neumann, Gregory A.; Smith, David E.; Zuber, Maria T.; Solomon, Sean C.

    2015-10-01

    We have coregistered laser altimeter profiles from 3 years of MErcury Surface, Space ENvironment, GEochemistry, and Ranging (MESSENGER) orbital observations with stereo digital terrain models to infer the rotation parameters for the planet Mercury. In particular, we provide the first observations of Mercury's librations from orbit. We have also confirmed available estimates for the orientation of the spin axis and the mean rotation rate of the planet. We find a large libration amplitude of 38.9 ± 1.3 arc sec and an obliquity of the spin axis of 2.029 ± 0.085 arc min, results confirming that Mercury possesses a liquid outer core. The mean rotation rate is observed to be (6.13851804 ± 9.4 × 10-7)°/d (a spin period of 58.6460768 days ± 0.78 s), significantly higher than the expected resonant rotation rate. As a possible explanation we suggest that Mercury is undergoing long-period librational motion, related to planetary perturbations of its orbit.

  8. Tests and comparisons of satellite-derived geoids with Skylab altimeter data

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Marsh, J. G.; Douglas, B. C.; Vincent, S.; Walls, D. M.

    1976-01-01

    During the Skylab 4 mission, the S-193 radar altimeter was operated nearly continuously for a revolution around the world on Jan. 31, 1974. This direct measurement to the sea surface has provided an independent basis for the evaluation of the precision of global geoids computed from satellite-derived earth gravity models. This paper presents comparisons between the Skylab data and several recent gravity models published by Goddard Space Flight Center, the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. The differences between the altimeter geoid and the satellite geoids were as large as 20 m, rms values ranging from 8 to 10 m. These differences also indicated a systematic long-wavelength variation (about 100 deg) not related to error in the Skylab orbits. Truncation of the models to degree and order 8 did not eliminate the long-wavelength variation, but in every case the rms agreement between the satellite geoids and the altimeter geoid was slightly improved. Orbits computed with the truncated models were found to be inferior to those computed with the complete models.

  9. An atlas of 1977 and 1978 GEOS-3 radar altimeter data for tropical cyclone studies

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Stanley, H. R.; Taylor, R. L.

    1980-01-01

    All of the GEOS 3 satellite altimeter schedule information were collected with all of the available 1977 and 1978 tropical cyclone positional information. The time period covers from March 23, 1977 through Nov. 23, 1978. The geographical region includes all ocean area north of the equator divided into the following operational areas: the Atlantic area (which includes the Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico); the eastern Pacific area; the central and western Pacific area; and the Indian Ocean area. All available source material concerning tropical cyclones was collected. The date/time/location information was extracted for each disturbance. This information was compared with the GEOS 3 altimeter ON/OFF history information to determine the existence of any altimeter data close enough in both time and location to make the data potentially useful for further study (the very liberal criteria used was time less than 24 hours and location within 25 degrees). Geographic plots (cyclone versus GEOS 3 orbit track) were produced for all of the events found showing the approximate location of the cyclone and the GEOS 3 orbit traces for the full day.

  10. Atmospheric influences on infrared-laser signals used for occultation measurements between Low Earth Orbit satellites

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Schweitzer, S.; Kirchengast, G.; Proschek, V.

    2011-05-01

    LEO-LEO infrared-laser occultation (LIO) is a new occultation technique between Low Earth Orbit (LEO) satellites, which applies signals in the short wave infrared spectral range (SWIR) within 2 μm to 2.5 μm. It is part of the LEO-LEO microwave and infrared-laser occultation (LMIO) method, recently introduced by Kirchengast and Schweitzer (2011), that enables to retrieve thermodynamic profiles (pressure, temperature, humidity) and accurate altitude levels from microwave signals and profiles of greenhouse gases and further variables such as line-of-sight wind speed from simultaneously measured LIO signals. For enabling trace species retrieval based on differential transmission, the LIO signals are spectrally located as pairs, one in the centre of a suitable absorption line of a target species (absorption signal) and one close by but outside of any absorption lines (reference signal). Due to the novelty of the LMIO method, detailed knowledge of atmospheric influences on LIO signals and of their suitability for accurate trace species retrieval did not yet exist. Here we discuss the atmospheric influences on the transmission and differential transmission of LIO signals. Refraction effects, trace species absorption (by target species, and cross-sensitivity to foreign species), aerosol extinction and Rayleigh scattering are studied in detail. The influences of clouds, turbulence, wind, scattered solar radiation and terrestrial thermal radiation are discussed as well. We show that the influence of defocusing, foreign species absorption, aerosols and turbulence is observable, but can be rendered small to negligible by use of the differential transmission principle and by a design with close frequency spacing of absorption and reference signals within 0.5 %. The influences of Rayleigh scattering and thermal radiation on the received signal intensities are found negligible. Cloud-scattered solar radiation can be observable under bright-day conditions but this influence can

  11. Interplanetary space weather effects on Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter avalanche photodiode performance

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Clements, E. B.; Carlton, A. K.; Joyce, C. J.; Schwadron, N. A.; Spence, H. E.; Sun, X.; Cahoy, K.

    2016-05-01

    Space weather is a major concern for radiation-sensitive space systems, particularly for interplanetary missions, which operate outside of the protection of Earth's magnetic field. We examine and quantify the effects of space weather on silicon avalanche photodiodes (SiAPDs), which are used for interplanetary laser altimeters and communications systems and can be sensitive to even low levels of radiation (less than 50 cGy). While ground-based radiation testing has been performed on avalanche photodiode (APDs) for space missions, in-space measurements of SiAPD response to interplanetary space weather have not been previously reported. We compare noise data from the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) Lunar Orbiter Laser Altimeter (LOLA) SiAPDs with radiation measurements from the onboard Cosmic Ray Telescope for the Effects of Radiation (CRaTER) instrument. We did not find any evidence to support radiation as the cause of changes in detector threshold voltage during radiation storms, both for transient detector noise and long-term average detector noise, suggesting that the approximately 1.3 cm thick shielding (a combination of titanium and beryllium) of the LOLA detectors is sufficient for SiAPDs on interplanetary missions with radiation environments similar to what the LRO experienced (559 cGy of radiation over 4 years).

  12. Utilizing the Lunar Laser Ranging datasets alongside the radioscience data from the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter to improve the dynamical model of the Moon

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Viswanathan, Vishnu; Fienga, Agnes; Laskar, Jacques; Manche, Herve; Torre, Jean-Marie; Courde, Clément; Exertier, Pierre

    2015-08-01

    In this poster we elaborate the use of raw navigation data (range and Doppler observations) from the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) available on the Planetary Data System (PDS), in order to study the orbit of this probe using the orbit determination software (GINS) developed by the French space agency (CNES). The constraints that are derived from this process on combining with the high precision Lunar Laser Ranging (LLR) datasets which are spread over 40 years, facilitates an improved dynamical modeling of the Moon. In addition, the possible advantages that could be exploited by the LLR experiments when operated with lasers in the IR wavelength are analyzed.

  13. Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO): Observations for Lunar Exploration and Science

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Keller, J. W.; Vondrak, R. R.; Garvin, J.; Chin, G.

    2009-12-01

    The Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) has the objectives of mapping the lunar surface, identifying safe landing sites, searching for resources and measuring the space radiation environment. After launch on June 18, 2009, the LRO spacecraft and instruments were activated and calibrated in an eccentric polar lunar orbit until September 15, when LRO was moved to a circular polar orbit with a mean altitude of 50 km. LRO will operate for at least one year to support the goals of NASA’s Exploration Systems Mission Directorate (ESMD), and for at least two years of extended operations for additional lunar science measurements supported by NASA’s Science Mission Directorate (SMD). LRO carries six instruments and a technology demonstration. The LRO instruments are: Cosmic Ray Telescope for the Effects of Radiation (CRaTER), Diviner Lunar Radiometer Exploration Experiment (DLRE), Lyman-Alpha Mapping Project (LAMP), Lunar Exploration Neutron Detector (LEND), Lunar Orbiter Laser Altimeter (LOLA), and Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Camera (LROC). The technology demonstration is a synthetic aperture radar system (mini-RF). LRO observations also supports the Lunar Crater Observation and Sensing Satellite (LCROSS), the lunar impact mission that was co-manifested with LRO on the Atlas V launch vehicle. This paper describes the LRO objectives and measurements that support exploration of the Moon and that address the science objectives outlined by the National Academy of Science’s report on the Scientific Context for Exploration of the Moon (SCEM). We also describe data accessibility by the science community.

  14. An analysis of the multibeam altimeter

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bush, G. B.; Dobson, E. B.; Matyskiela, R.; Kilgus, C. C.; Walsh, E. J.

    The design concept and computer simulations of a multibeam altimeter (MA) to provide satellite-based oceanographic-feature data for map construction within relatively short times are presented. The limitations of the pulse-limited radar altimeter used on GEOS-3 and SEASAT-A, in particular the narrow swath of each measurement pass, are characterized. The MA uses interferometry with two 1.2-m dish antennas separated by an 11-m boom to cover a total swath width of 100 km at satellite altitude 800 km, nominal repetition rate 6 kp/sec, and nominal integration time 2.5 sec. Simulation analysis of antenna element pattern, echo shape, tracking algorithms, tracking noise, and measurement accuracy was performed, and the general feasibility of ocean-current mapping with a one-week time delay, using two MA-equipped satellites, was demonstrated.

  15. Three ocean state indicators from altimeter products

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Rio, M.-H.; Bessières, L.; Boone, C.; Dufau, C.; Pujol, M.-I.

    2012-04-01

    The Sea Level Thematic Assembly Centre from the MyOcean project provides observations of the ocean dynamic topography from altimeter measurements. In order to validate and best make use of the SLTAC products, the ocean state is being monitored through the analysis of ocean indicators based on altimeter data only. Three specific indicators have been developed using the decomposition into principal components (EOF)analysis. The first ocean indicator follows the positive and negative phases of the ENSO events in the Tropical Pacific, the El Niño/La Niña events since 1992. The second ocean indicator allows monitoring the state of the Kuroshio current (contracted or extended). The third ocean indicator, dedicated to the Ionian basin in the Mediterranean Sea, allows to discriminate between the two main circulation patterns of the basin, either anticyclonic (for instance before 1997 or after 2006) or zonal (after 1997 or before 2006).

  16. The analysis of single-electron orbits in a free electron laser based upon a rectangular hybrid wiggler

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kordbacheh, A.; Ghahremaninezhad, Roghayeh; Maraghechi, B.

    2012-09-01

    A three-dimensional analysis of a novel free-electron laser (FEL) based upon a rectangular hybrid wiggler (RHW) is presented. This RHW is designed in a configuration composed of rectangular rings with alternating ferrite and dielectric spacers immersed in a solenoidal magnetic field. An analytic model of RHW is introduced by solution of Laplace's equation for the magnetostatic fields under the appropriate boundary conditions. The single-electron orbits in combined RHW and axial guide magnetic fields are studied when only the first and the third spatial harmonic components of the RHW field are taken into account and the higher order terms are ignored. The results indicate that the third spatial harmonic leads to group III orbits with a strong negative mass regime particularly in large solenoidal magnetic fields. RHW is found to be a promising candidate with favorable characteristics to be used in microwave FEL.

  17. Large icebergs characteristics from altimeter waveforms analysis

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Tournadre, J.; Bouhier, N.; Girard-Ardhuin, F.; Rémy, F.

    2015-03-01

    Large uncertainties exist on the volume of ice transported by the Southern Ocean large icebergs, a key parameter for climate studies, because of the paucity of information, especially on iceberg thickness. Using icebergs tracks from the National Ice Center (NIC) and Brigham Young University (BYU) databases to select altimeter data over icebergs and a method of analysis of altimeter waveforms, a database of 5366 icebergs freeboard elevation, length, and backscatter covering the 2002-2012 period has been created. The database is analyzed in terms of distributions of freeboard, length, and backscatter showing differences as a function of the iceberg's quadrant of origin. The database allows to analyze the temporal evolution of icebergs and to estimate a melt rate of 35-39 m·yr-1 (neglecting the firn compaction). The total daily volume of ice, estimated by combining the NIC and altimeter sizes and the altimeter freeboards, regularly decreases from 2.2 104km3 in 2002 to 0.9 104km3 in 2012. During this decade, the total loss of ice (˜1800 km3·yr-1) is twice as large as than the input (˜960 km3·yr-1) showing that the system is out of equilibrium after a very large input of ice between 1997 and 2002. Breaking into small icebergs represents 80% (˜1500 km3·yr-1) of the total ice loss while basal melting is only 18% (˜320 km3·yr-1). Small icebergs are thus the major vector of freshwater input in the Southern Ocean.

  18. Accuracy Assessment of Altimeter Derived Geostrophic Velocities

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Leben, R. R.; Powell, B. S.; Born, G. H.; Guinasso, N. L.

    2002-12-01

    Along track sea surface height anomaly gradients are proportional to cross track geostrophic velocity anomalies allowing satellite altimetry to provide much needed satellite observations of changes in the geostrophic component of surface ocean currents. Often, surface height gradients are computed from altimeter data archives that have been corrected to give the most accurate absolute sea level, a practice that may unnecessarily increase the error in the cross track velocity anomalies and thereby require excessive smoothing to mitigate noise. Because differentiation along track acts as a high-pass filter, many of the path length corrections applied to altimeter data for absolute height accuracy are unnecessary for the corresponding gradient calculations. We report on a study to investigate appropriate altimetric corrections and processing techniques for improving geostrophic velocity accuracy. Accuracy is assessed by comparing cross track current measurements from two moorings placed along the descending TOPEX/POSEIDON ground track number 52 in the Gulf of Mexico to the corresponding altimeter velocity estimates. The buoys are deployed and maintained by the Texas Automated Buoy System (TABS) under Interagency Contracts with Texas A&M University. The buoys telemeter observations in near real-time via satellite to the TABS station located at the Geochemical and Environmental Research Group (GERG) at Texas A&M. Buoy M is located in shelf waters of 57 m depth with a second, Buoy N, 38 km away on the shelf break at 105 m depth. Buoy N has been operational since the beginning of 2002 and has a current meter at 2m depth providing in situ measurements of surface velocities coincident with Jason and TOPEX/POSEIDON altimeter over flights. This allows one of the first detailed comparisons of shallow water near surface current meter time series to coincident altimetry.

  19. Initial test results using the GEOS-3 engineering model altimeter

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Hayne, G. S.; Clary, J. B.

    1977-01-01

    Data from a series of experimental tests run on the engineering model of the GEOS 3 radar altimeter using the Test and Measurement System (TAMS) designed for preflight testing of the radar altimeter are presented. These tests were conducted as a means of preparing and checking out a detailed test procedure to be used in running similar tests on the GEOS 3 protoflight model altimeter systems. The test procedures and results are also included.

  20. Spaceborne Laser Altimetry On Icesat

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Schutz, B.

    The Geoscience Laser Altimeter System (GLAS) is planned for launch on ICESat in 2002, into a 600 km altitude, near polar orbit from Vandenberg, California. The sys- tem is designed to operate up to five years in orbit. GLAS is under development by NASA Goddard and it will be delivered to the spacecraft contractor, Ball Aerospace, for mating and testing with the spacecraft bus. The GLAS instrument will transmit both near infrared (1064 nm) and green (532 nm) pulses using a diode-pumped, Q- switched Nd:YAG laser. The 1064 wavelength will be used for surface altimetry, in- cluding dense clouds, and the 532 wavelength will be used for atmospheric backscat- ter measurements. The altitude measurement will produce elevation time series of the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets, which will enable determination of present-day elevation change and mass balance. Other applications of the altimetry channel in- clude precise measurements of land topography and vegetation canopy heights, sea ice roughness and thickness, and ocean surface elevations. The atmospheric channel will provide information on the vertical distribution of clouds and aerosols. The laser pulse energy at 1064 nm is about 75 mJ with a width of about 5 ns and the pulse has a divergence of about 0.11 mrad, which illuminates a spot on the surface with a 66 m diameter. Three lasers are available (two are required for lifetime requirements and the third provides redundancy). The pulse echo is captured with a 1 m telescope mounted on the rigid GLAS optical bench. A Si analog detector receives the return pulse and an A/D converter digitizes the pulse with a 1 GHz sampling rate. Two detectors and two digitizers are available for redundancy. Unlike wide pulse radar altimeters, accurate knowledge of the laser beam direction is required for the laser altimeter. The pointing will be determined with the assistance of an innovative system of CCD cameras that will measure the direction of each laser pulse with respect to

  1. Altimetry, Orbits and Tides

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Colombo, O. L.

    1984-01-01

    The nature of the orbit error and its effect on the sea surface heights calculated with satellite altimetry are explained. The elementary concepts of celestial mechanics required to follow a general discussion of the problem are included. Consideration of errors in the orbits of satellites with precisely repeating ground tracks (SEASAT, TOPEX, ERS-1, POSEIDON, amongst past and future altimeter satellites) are detailed. The theoretical conclusions are illustrated with the numerical results of computer simulations. The nature of the errors in this type of orbits is such that this error can be filtered out by using height differences along repeating (overlapping) passes. This makes them particularly valuable for the study and monitoring of changes in the sea surface, such as tides. Elements of tidal theory, showing how these principles can be combined with those pertinent to the orbit error to make direct maps of the tides using altimetry are presented.

  2. TOPEX NASA Altimeter Operations Handbook, September 1992. Volume 6

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Hancock, David W., III; Hayne, George S.; Purdy, Craig L.; Bull, James B.; Brooks, Ronald L.

    2003-01-01

    This operations handbook identifies the commands for the NASA radar altimeter for the TOPEX/Poseidon spacecraft, defines the functions of these commands, and provides supplemental reference material for use by the altimeter operations personnel. The main emphasis of this document is placed on command types, command definitions, command sequences, and operational constraints. Additional document sections describe uploadable altimeter operating parameters, the telemetry stream data contents (for both the science and the engineering data), the Missions Operations System displays, and the spacecraft and altimeter health monitors.

  3. Laser Ranging in Solar System: Technology Developments and New Science Measurement Capabilities

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Sun, X.; Smith, D. E.; Zuber, M. T.; Mcgarry, J.; Neumann, G. A.; Mazarico, E.

    2015-12-01

    Laser Ranging has played a major role in geodetic studies of the Earth over the past 40 years. The technique can potentially be used in between planets and spacecrafts within the solar system to advance planetary science. For example, a direct measurement of distances between planets, such as Mars and Venus would make significant improvements in understanding the dynamics of the whole solar system, including the masses of the planets and moons, asteroids and their perturbing interactions, and the gravity field of the Sun. Compared to the conventional radio frequency (RF) tracking systems, laser ranging is potentially more accurate because it is much less sensitive to the transmission media. It is also more efficient because the laser beams are much better focused onto the targets than RF beams. However, existing laser ranging systems are all Earth centric, that is, from ground stations on Earth to orbiting satellites in near Earth orbits or lunar orbit, and to the lunar retro-reflector arrays deployed by the astronauts in the early days of lunar explorations. Several long distance laser ranging experiments have been conducted with the lidar in space, including a two-way laser ranging demonstration between Earth and the Mercury Laser Altimeter (MLA) on the MESSENGER spacecraft over 24 million km, and a one way laser transmission and detection experiment over 80 million km between Earth and the Mars Orbiting Laser Altimeter (MOLA) on the MGS spacecraft in Mars orbit. A one-way laser ranging operation has been carried out continuously from 2009 to 2014 between multiple ground stations to LRO spacecraft in lunar orbit. The Lunar Laser Communication Demonstration (LLCD) on the LADEE mission has demonstrated that a two way laser ranging measurements, including both the Doppler frequency and the phase shift, can be obtained from the subcarrier or the data clocks of a high speed duplex laser communication system. Plans and concepts presently being studied suggest we may be

  4. Preparations for Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter gravity and altimetry missions

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Mazarico, E.; Lemoine, F. G.; Neumann, G. A.; Smith, D. E.; Rowlands, D. D.; Zuber, M. T.

    2008-12-01

    The launch of the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter is expected in early 2009. We present results of the preparations undertaken at the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center for the Lunar Orbiter Laser Altimeter (LOLA) instrument and the Radio Science experiment. A new lunar reference frame, vital to current exploration efforts for a return to the Moon, will be developed from the combined data sets collected by both experiments. In addition to collecting topographic data, LOLA will assist the Precision Orbit Determination of the LRO spacecraft. The 50-m total positioning requirement is very challenging due to the low altitude (50km on average) and the lack of radio tracking over most of the lunar far side. While commercial S-band tracking data will be the principal measurements used for orbit reconstruction, the unique five-beam altimeter enables the use of the altimetric cross-over technique with unprecedented accuracy. Previous simulations showed that the more numerous (by a factor of 25) crossings could greatly help in reducing the uncertainties in the recovered orbit. We show here that cross-track information contained in the acquired topographic swaths (compared to multiple two-dimensional profiles) can constrain orbits to a few meters horizontally and better than 50cm vertically. Swath cross-overs will be most valuable in mid-latitudes, where cross-overs are sparse and tracks intersect at shallow angles. A spacecraft physical model, for use in the GEODYN II orbit determination program, includes inter-plate self- shadowing in the calculation of the spacecraft cross-sectional area for solar radiation pressure. Simulations indicate that solar radiation effects on the orbit can be on the order of 10-20m. Because the thermal radiation forces are larger and more variable than on Mars, the current model of the thermal flux map was updated, with effects on the order of 1-5m. The benefit of using the self-shadowing model for the albedo and thermal forces is currently being

  5. Quality assessment of altimeter data through tide gauge comparisons

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Prandi, Pierre; Valladeau, Guillaume; Ablain, Michael; Picot, Nicolas; Desjonquères, Jean-Damien

    2015-04-01

    Since the first altimeter missions and the improvements performed in the accuracy of sea surface height measurements from 1992 onwards, the importance of global quality assessment of altimeter data has been increasing. Global CalVal studies usually assess this performance by the analysis of internal consistency and cross-comparison between all missions. The overall quality assessment of altimeter data can be performed by analyzing their internal consistency and the cross-comparison between all missions. As a complementary approach, tide gauge measurements are used as an external and independent reference to enable further quality assessment of the altimeter sea level and provide a better estimate of the multiple altimeter performances. In this way, both altimeter and tide gauge observations, dedicated to climate applications, require a rigorous quality control. The tide gauge time series considered in this study derive from several networks (GLOSS/CLIVAR, PSMSL, REFMAR) and provide sea-level heights with a physical content comparable with altimetry sea level estimates. Concerning altimeter data, the long-term drift assessment can be evaluated thanks to a widespread network of tide gauges. Thus, in-situ measurements are compared with altimeter sea level for the main altimeter missions. If altimeter time series are long enough, tide gauge data provide a relevant estimation of the global Mean Sea Level (MSL) drift calculated for all the missions. Moreover, comparisons with sea level products merging all the altimeter missions together have also been performed using several datasets, among which the AVISO delayed-time Sea Level Anomaly grids.

  6. An initial assessment of the performance achieved by the Seasat-1 radar altimeter

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Townsend, W. F.

    1980-01-01

    The results of an initial on-orbit engineering assessment of the performance achieved by the radar altimeter system flown on SEASAT-1 are presented. Additionally, the general design characteristics of this system are discussed and illustrations of altimeter data product are provided. The instrument consists of a 13.5 GHz monostatic radar system that tracks in range only using a one meter parabolic antenna pointed at the satellite nadir. Two of its unique features are a linear FM transmitter with 320 MHz bandwidth which yields a 3.125 nanosecond time delay resolution, and microprocessor implemented closed loop range tracking, automatic gain control (AGC), and real time estimation of significant wave height (SWH). Results presented show that the altimeter generally performed in accordance with its orginal performance requirments of measuring altitude to a precision of less the 10 cm RMS, significant wave height to an accuracy of + or - 0.5 m or 10%, whichever is greater, and ocean backscatter coefficient to an accuracy of + or - 1 db, all over an SWH range of 1 to 20 meters.

  7. Compact, passively Q-switched Nd:YAG laser for the MESSENGER mission to Mercury.

    PubMed

    Krebs, Danny J; Novo-Gradac, Anne-Marie; Li, Steven X; Lindauer, Steven J; Afzal, Robert S; Yu, Anthony W

    2005-03-20

    A compact, passively Q-switched Nd:YAG laser has been developed for the Mercury Laser Altimeter, an instrument on the Mercury Surface, Space Environment, Geochemistry, and Ranging mission to the planet Mercury. The laser achieves 5.4% efficiency with a near-diffraction-limited beam. It passed all space-flight environmental tests at subsystem, instrument, and satellite integration testing and successfully completes a postlaunch aliveness check en route to Mercury. The laser design draws on a heritage of previous laser altimetry missions, specifically the Ice Cloud and Elevation Satellite and the Mars Global Surveyor, but incorporates thermal management features unique to the requirements of an orbit of the planet Mercury. PMID:15813276

  8. Photon-Counting Microlaser Rangers, Transponders, and Altimeters

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Degnan, John J.; Smith, David E. (Technical Monitor)

    2000-01-01

    Unlike current manned systems, NASA's next generation SLR2000 Satellite Laser Ranging (SLR) station is fully autonomous. eye-safe, relatively compact and inexpensive. and, during daytime tracking operates at signal-to-noise ratios several orders of magnitude below unity. Tiny, passively Q-switched microlasers generate ultra-short pulses with output energies on the order of 100 micron-J at few kHz rates to achieve mm-level ranging precision to satellite altitudes of 20,000 km. Special ranging receivers, combined with Poisson statistical analysis of the received photon distribution, enable the system to rapidly and reliably identify and extract the single photon laser echoes from the solar background. The enhanced rate of return, combined with a uniform signal strength, can actually drive down both systematic and random range errors. The new SLR2000 technology has already spawned exciting new applications. Compact microlaser altimeters, capable of mapping the surface of a planet or other celestial body at multikilohertz rates, is one such application, and a high altitude, airborne version is currently being developed under NASA's Instrument Incubator Program. Interplanetary microlaser transponders would be capable of performing decimeter ranging or subnanosecond time transfer to spacecraft throughout the inner Solar System. resulting in improved knowledge of planetary motions and liberations and enhanced General Relativity experiments.

  9. Regional CalVal of Altimeter Range at Non-Dedicated Sites in Preparation f Sentinel-3

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Cancet, M.; Watson, C.; Haines, B.; Bonnefond, P.; Lyard, F.; Femenias, P.; Guinle, T.

    2015-12-01

    In situ calibration ensures regular and long-term control of the altimeter sea surface height (SSH) time series through comparisons with independent records. Usually, in situ calibration and validation of altimeter SSH is undertaken at specific CALVAL sites through the direct comparison of the altimeter data with in situ data [1]. However, NOVELTIS has developed a regional CALVAL technique, which aims at increasing the number and the repeatability of the altimeter bias assessments by determining the altimeter bias both on overflying passes and on satellite passes located far away from the calibration site. In principle this extends the single site approach to a wider regional scale, thus reinforcing the link between the local and the global CALVAL analyses. It also provides a means to maintain a calibration time series through periods of data-outage at a specific dedicated calibration site. The regional method was initially developed at the Corsican calibration sites of Senetosa and Ajaccio. The method was used to compute the biases of Jason-1, Jason-2 and Envisat (before and after the orbit change in 2010) at both sites, and proved its stability and generality through this cross-calibration exercise [2]. These last years, the regional method was successfully implemented at the Californian site of Harvest and at the Australian site of Bass Strait, in close collaboration with JPL and the University of Tasmania, respectively. These recent studies gave the first Envisat absolute bias estimates at non-dedicated sites using the same method, and showed high consistency with the analyses of the global CALVAL teams and the work of the in situ CALVAL teams. These results highlight the numerous advantages of this technique for monitoring missions on any orbits such as the future Sentinel-3 and Jason-CS/Sentinel-6 missions.

  10. Effects of spin-orbit coupling on laser cooling of BeI and MgI

    SciTech Connect

    Wan, Mingjie Huang, Duohui; Shao, Juxiang; Li, Yuanyuan; Yu, You; Li, Song

    2015-10-28

    We present the ab initio study of spin-orbit coupling effects on laser cooling of BeI and MgI molecules. Potential energy curves for the X{sup 2}Σ{sup +}{sub 1/2}, A{sup 2}Π{sub 1/2,3/2}, and 2{sup 2}Π{sub 3/2,1/2} states are calculated using multi-reference configuration interaction method plus Davidson corrections. Spectroscopic parameters of BeI and MgI are in excellent agreement with available experimental and theoretical values. The A{sup 2}Π{sub 3/2} state of MgI is a repulsive state. It is an unsuitable scheme for the A{sup 2}Π{sub 3/2}(υ′)← X{sup 2}Σ{sup +}{sub 1/2} (υ″) transition for laser cooling of MgI. Highly diagonally distributed Franck-Condon factors f{sub 00} for the A{sup 2}Π{sub 1/2,3/2} (υ′ = 0) ← X{sup 2}Σ{sup +}{sub 1/2} (υ″ = 0) transitions and suitable radiative lifetimes τ for the A{sup 2}Π{sub 1/2,3/2} (υ′ = 0) of BeI and MgI are obtained. Three laser wavelength drives are required for the A{sup 2}Π{sub 1/2,3/2}(υ′)←X{sup 2}Σ{sup +}{sub 1/2} (υ″) transitions of BeI and MgI. The proposed cooling wavelengths of BeI and MgI are both in the violet region. The results imply the feasibility of laser cooling of BeI and MgI, and that laser cooling of BeI is more possible.

  11. Time-dependent renormalized-natural-orbital theory applied to laser-driven H2 +

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hanusch, A.; Rapp, J.; Brics, M.; Bauer, D.

    2016-04-01

    Recently introduced time-dependent renormalized-natural-orbital theory (TDRNOT) is extended towards a multicomponent approach in order to describe H2 + beyond the Born-Oppenheimer approximation. Two kinds of natural orbitals, describing the electronic and the nuclear degrees of freedom are introduced, and the exact equations of motion for them are derived. The theory is benchmarked by comparing numerically exact results of the time-dependent Schrödinger equation for an H2 + model system with the corresponding TDRNOT predictions. Ground-state properties, linear-response spectra, fragmentation, and high-order harmonic generation are investigated.

  12. Space-based application of the CAN laser to LIDAR and orbital debris remediation

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Quinn, M. N.; Jukna, V.; Ebisuzaki, T.; Dicaire, I.; Soulard, R.; Summerer, L.; Couairon, A.; Mourou, G.

    2015-10-01

    Development of pulsed lasers for space-based science missions entail many additional challenges compared to terrestrial experiments. For systems requiring short pulses ≪1 ns with energies >100 mJ and fast repetition rates >10 kHz there are currently few if no laser architectures capable of operating with high electrical efficiency >20% and have good system stability. The emergence of a mulit-channel fiber-based Coherent-Amplifying-Network or CAN laser potentially enables such capability for space based missions. Here in this article we present an analysis of two such missions scaling up in pulse energy from ≈100 mJ for a supercontinuum LIDAR application utilising atmospheric filamentation to the higher energy demands needed for space debris remediation requiring ≈10 J pulses. This scalability of the CAN laser provides pathways for development of the core science and technology where many new novel space applications can be made possible.

  13. Creating intense polarized electron beam via laser stripping and spin-orbit interaction

    SciTech Connect

    Danilov, V.; Ptitsyn, V.; Gorlov, T.

    2010-12-01

    The recent advance in laser field make it possible to excite and strip electrons with definite spin from hydrogen atoms. The sources of hydrogen atoms with orders of magnitude higher currents (than that of the conventional polarized electron cathods) can be obtained from H{sup -} sources with good monochromatization. With one electron of H{sup -} stripped by a laser, the remained electron is excited to upper state (2P{sup 3/2} and 2P{sup 1/2}) by a circular polarization laser light from FEL. Then, it is excited to a high quantum number (n=7) with mostly one spin direction due to energy level split of the states with a definite direction of spin and angular momentum in an applied magnetic field and then it is stripped by a strong electric field of an RF cavity. This paper presents combination of lasers and fields to get high polarization and high current electron source.

  14. Strategies for estimating the marine geoid from altimeter data

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Argentiero, P.; Kahn, W. D.; Garza-Robles, R.

    1976-01-01

    Altimeter data from a spacecraft borne altimeter was processed to estimate the fine structure of the marine geoid. Simulation studies show that, among several competing parameterizations, the mean free air gravity anomaly model exhibited promising geoid recovery characteristics. Using covariance analysis techniques, quantitative measures of the orthogonality properties are investigated.

  15. Orbit Modification of Earth-Crossing Asteroids/Comets Using Rendezvous Spacecraft and Laser Ablation

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Park, Sang-Young; Mazanek, Daniel D.

    2005-01-01

    This report describes the approach and results of an end-to-end simulation to deflect a long-period comet (LPC) by using a rapid rendezvous spacecraft and laser ablation system. The laser energy required for providing sufficient deflection DELTA V and an analysis of possible intercept/rendezvous spacecraft trajectories are studied in this analysis. These problems minimize a weighted sum of the flight time and required propellant by using an advanced propulsion system. The optimal thrust-vector history and propellant mass to use are found in order to transfer a spacecraft from the Earth to a targeted celestial object. One goal of this analysis is to formulate an optimization problem for intercept/rendezvous spacecraft trajectories. One approach to alter the trajectory of the object in a highly controlled manner is to use pulsed laser ablative propulsion. A sufficiently intense laser pulse ablates the surface of a near-Earth object (NEO) by causing plasma blowoff. The momentum change from a single laser pulse is very small. However, the cumulative effect is very effective because the laser can interact with the object over long periods of time. The laser ablation technique can overcome the mass penalties associated with other nondisruptive approaches because no propellant is required to generate the DELTA V (the material of the celestial object is the propellant source). Additionally, laser ablation is effective against a wide range of surface materials and does not require any landing or physical attachment to the object. For diverting distant asteroids and comets, the power and optical requirements of a laser ablation system on or near the Earth may be too extreme to contemplate in the next few decades. A hybrid solution would be for a spacecraft to carry a laser as a payload to a particular celestial body. The spacecraft would require an advanced propulsion system capable of rapid rendezvous with the object and an extremely powerful electrical generator, which is

  16. Optically coupled digital altitude encoder for general aviation altimeters

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Bryant, F. R.

    1975-01-01

    An optically coupled pressure altitude encoder which can be incorporated into commercially available inexpensive general aviation altimeters was successfully developed. The encoding of pressure altitude is accomplished in 100-ft (30.48-m) increments from -1000 to 20,000ft (-304.8 to 6096 m). The prototype encoders were retrofitted into two different internal altimeter configurations. A prototype encoder was checked for accuracy of transition points and environmental effects. Each altimeter configuration, with the encoder incorporated, was laboratory tested for performance and was subsequently flight-tested over the specified altitude range. With few exceptions, the assembled altimeter-encoder met aeronautical standards for altimeters and encoders. Design changes are suggested to improve performance to meet required standards consistently.

  17. Ocean topography mapping, improvement of the marine geoid, and global permanent ocean circulation studies from TOPEX/Poseidon altimeter data

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Marsh, James G.; Lerch, F. J.; Koblinsky, C. J.; Nerem, R. S.; Klosko, S. M.; Williamson, R. G.

    1991-01-01

    The TOPEX/POSEIDON altimeter measurements will be the first global observations of the sea surface with accuracy sufficient to make quantitative determinations of the ocean's general circulation and its variations. These measurements are an important step to understanding global change in the ocean and its impact on the climate. Our investigation will focus on the examination of features in the sea surface elevation at the largest spatial and temporal scales. TOPEX/POSEIDON altimeter measurements will be used in conjunction with observations from past satellite-altimeter missions, such as NASA's GEOS-3 and Seasat, the U.S. Navy's Geosat and SALT, and the European Remote Sensing satellite in order to address the following issues: (1) Improve models of the marine geoid, especially at wavelengths needed to understand the basin-scale ocean dynamic topograpy. (2) Measure directly from the altimeter data the expression of the mean global ocean circulation in the sea surface at the largest scales through a simultaneous solution for gravity, orbital, and oceanographic parameters. (3) Examine the sea surface measurements for changes in global ocean mass or volume, interannual variations in the basin-scale ocean circulation, and annual changes in the heating and cooling of the upper ocean.

  18. Determination of mean surface position and sea state from the radar return of a short-pulse satellite altimeter

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Barrick, D. E.

    1972-01-01

    Using the specular point theory of scatter from a very rough surface, the average backscatter cross section per unit area per radar cell width is derived for a cell located at a given height above the mean sea surface. This result is then applied to predict the average radar cross section observed by a short-pulse altimeter as a function of time for two modes of operation: pulse-limited and beam-limited configurations. For a pulse-limited satellite altimeter, a family of curves is calculated showing the distortion of the leading edge of the receiver output signal as a function of sea state (i.e., wind speed). A signal processing scheme is discussed that permits an accurate determination of the mean surface position--even in high seas--and, as a by-product, the estimation of the significant seawave height (or wind speed above the surface). Comparison of these analytical results with experimental data for both pulse-limited and beam-limited operation lends credence to the model. Such a model should aid in the design of short-pulse altimeters for accurate determination of the geoid over the oceans, as well as for the use of such altimeters for orbital sea-state monitoring.

  19. Topography of the Lunar Poles and Application to Geodesy with the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Mazarico, Erwan; Neumann, Gregory A.; Rowlands, David D.; Smith, David E.; Zuber, Maria T.

    2012-01-01

    The Lunar Orbiter Laser Altimeter (LOLA) [1] onboard the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) [2] has been operating continuously since July 2009 [3], accumulating approx.5.4 billion measurements from 2 billion on-orbit laser shots. LRO s near-polar orbit results in very high data density in the immediate vicinity of the lunar poles, which are each sampled every 2h. With more than 10,000 orbits, high-resolution maps can be constructed [4] and studied [5]. However, this requires careful processing of the raw data, as subtle errors in the spacecraft position and pointing can lead to visible artifacts in the final map. In other locations on the Moon, ground tracks are subparallel and longitudinal separations are typically a few hundred meters. Near the poles, the track intersection angles can be large and the inter-track spacing is small (above 80 latitude, the effective resolution is better than 50m). Precision Orbit Determination (POD) of the LRO spacecraft [6] was performed to satisfy the LOLA and LRO mission requirements, which lead to a significant improvement in the orbit position knowledge over the short-release navigation products. However, with pixel resolutions of 10 to 25 meters, artifacts due to orbit reconstruction still exist. Here, we show how the complete LOLA dataset at both poles can be adjusted geometrically to produce a high-accuracy, high-resolution maps with minimal track artifacts. We also describe how those maps can then feedback to the POD work, by providing topographic base maps with which individual LOLA altimetric measurements can be contributing to orbit changes. These direct altimetry constraints improve accuracy and can be used more simply than the altimetric crossovers [6].

  20. Spontaneous emergence of non-planar electron orbits during direct laser acceleration by a linearly polarized laser pulse

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Arefiev, A. V.; Khudik, V. N.; Robinson, A. P. L.; Shvets, G.; Willingale, L.

    2016-02-01

    An electron irradiated by a linearly polarized relativistic intensity laser pulse in a cylindrical plasma channel can gain significant energy from the pulse. The laser electric and magnetic fields drive electron oscillations in a plane making it natural to expect the electron trajectory to be flat. We show that strong modulations of the relativistic γ-factor associated with the energy enhancement cause the free oscillations perpendicular to the plane of the driven motion to become unstable. As a consequence, out of plane displacements grow to become comparable to the amplitude of the driven oscillations and the electron trajectory becomes essentially three-dimensional, even if at an early stage of the acceleration it was flat. The development of the instability profoundly affects the x-ray emission, causing considerable divergence of the radiation perpendicular to the plane of the driven oscillations, while also reducing the overall emitted energy.

  1. Test of an orbiting hydrogen maser clock system using laser time transfer

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Vessot, Robert F. C.; Mattison, Edward M.; Nystrom, G. U.; Decher, Rudolph

    1992-07-01

    We describe a joint Smithsonian Astrophysical Laboratory/National Aeronautics and Space Administration (SAO/NASA) program for flight testing a atomic hydrogen maser clock system designed for long-term operation in space. The clock system will be carried by a shuttle-launched EURECA spacecraft. Comparisons with earth clocks to measure the clock's long-term frequency stability (tau = 10(exp 4) seconds) will be made using laser time transfer from existing NASA laser tracking stations. We describe the design of the maser clock and its control systems, and the laser timing technique. We describe the precision of station time synchronization and the limitations in the comparison between the earth and space time scales owing to gravitational and relativistic effects. We will explore the implications of determining the spacecraft's location by an on-board Global Position System (GPS) receiver, and of using microwave techniques for time and frequency transfer.

  2. Test of an orbiting hydrogen maser clock system using laser time transfer

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Vessot, Robert F. C.; Mattison, Edward M.; Nystrom, G. U.; Decher, Rudolph

    1992-01-01

    We describe a joint Smithsonian Astrophysical Laboratory/National Aeronautics and Space Administration (SAO/NASA) program for flight testing a atomic hydrogen maser clock system designed for long-term operation in space. The clock system will be carried by a shuttle-launched EURECA spacecraft. Comparisons with earth clocks to measure the clock's long-term frequency stability (tau = 10(exp 4) seconds) will be made using laser time transfer from existing NASA laser tracking stations. We describe the design of the maser clock and its control systems, and the laser timing technique. We describe the precision of station time synchronization and the limitations in the comparison between the earth and space time scales owing to gravitational and relativistic effects. We will explore the implications of determining the spacecraft's location by an on-board Global Position System (GPS) receiver, and of using microwave techniques for time and frequency transfer.

  3. Pulsed laser propulsion for low cost, high volume launch to orbit

    SciTech Connect

    Kare, J.

    1989-06-02

    Pulsed laser propulsion offers the prospect of delivering high thrust at high specific impulse (500-1000 seconds) from a very simple thruster, using the energy of a remote ground-based laser to heat an inert propellant. Current analyses indicate that payloads of approximately 1 kg per megawatt of average laser power can be launched at a rate of one payload every 15 minutes and a marginal cost of $20 to $200 per kg. A 20 MW entry-level launch system could be built using current technology at a cost of $500 million or less; it would be capable of placing 600 tons per year into LEO. The SDIO Laser Propulsion Program has been developing the technology for such a launch system since 1987. The program has conducted theoretical and experimental research on a particular class of laser-driven thruster, the planar double-pulse LSD-wave thruster, which could be used for a near-term launcher. The double-pulse thruster offers several advantages, including extreme simplicity, design flexibility, and the ability to guide a vehicle remotely by precise control of the laser beam. Small-scale experiments have demonstrated the operation of this thruster at a specific impulse of 600 seconds and 10% efficiency; larger experiments now under way are expected to increase this to at least 20% efficiency. Systems-level issues, from guidance and tracking to possible unique applications, have also been considered and will be briefly discussed. There appear to be no fundamental obstacles to creating, in the next five to ten years, a new low-cost ''pipe-line to space.'' 7 refs., 2 figs., 1 tab.

  4. Satellite height determination using satellite-to-satellite tracking and ground laser systems

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Vonbun, F. O.

    1972-01-01

    An attempt was made to use GEOS-C spacecraft height, as measured by the onboard radar altimeter, for an improved determination of the earth's gravitational field and for the determination of the variation of the physical surface of the oceans. Two tracking system approaches to accurately determine the spacecraft height (orbit) are described and their results stated. These are satellite-to-satellite tracking (SST) and ground-laser tracking (GLT). Height variations can be observed in the dm-regions using SST and in the m-region using present GLT.

  5. Satellite height determination using satellite-to-satellite tracking and ground laser systems

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Vonbun, F. O.

    1972-01-01

    The height of the GEOS-C spacecraft was utilized as measured by the onboard radar altimeter, for an improved determination of the earth's gravitational field and for the determination of the variation of the physical surface of the oceans. Two tracking system approaches to accurately determine the spacecraft height (orbit) are described and their results stated. These are satellite-to-satellite tracking (SST) and ground laser tracking (GLT). Height variations can be observed in the dm-regions using SST and in the m-region using present GLT.

  6. Photon-counting multikilohertz microlaser altimeters for airborne and spaceborne topographic measurements

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Degnan, John J.

    2002-11-01

    We consider the optimum design of photon-counting microlaser altimeters operating from airborne and spaceborne platforms under both day and night conditions. Extremely compact, passively Q-switched microlaser transmitters produce trains of low energy pulses at multi-kHz rates and can easily generate subnanosecond pulsewidths for precise ranging. To guide the design, we have modeled the solar noise background and developed simple algorithms, based on post-detection Poisson filtering (PDPF), to optimally extract the weak altimeter signal from a high noise background during daytime operations. The advantages of photon-counting detector arrays followed by multichannel timing receivers for high resolution topographic mapping are discussed. Practical technology issues, such as detector and/or receiver dead times and their impact on signal detection and ranging accuracy and resolution, have also been considered in the analysis. The theoretical results are reinforced by data from an airborne microlaser altimeter, developed under NASA's Instrument Incubator Program. The latter instrument has operated at several kHz rates from aircraft cruise altitudes up to 6.7 km with laser pulse energies on the order of a few microjoules. The instrument has successfully recorded decimeter accuracy or better single photon returns from man-made structures, tree canopies and underlying terrain and has demonstrated shallow water bathymetry at depths to a few meters. We conclude the discussion by analyzing a photon counting instrument designed to produce, over a mission life of 3 years, a globally contiguous map of the Martian surface, with 5 m horizontal resolution and decimeter vertical accuracy, from an altitude of 300 km. The transmitter power-receive aperture product required is comparable to the Geoscience Laser Altimeter System (GLAS) but the number of individual range measurements to the surface is increased by three to four orders of magnitude. For more modest scientific goals, on a

  7. Elevation Change of the Southern Greenland Ice Sheet from Satellite Radar Altimeter Data

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Haines, Bruce J.

    1999-01-01

    Long-term changes in the thickness of the polar ice sheets are important indicators of climate change. Understanding the contributions to the global water mass balance from the accumulation or ablation of grounded ice in Greenland and Antarctica is considered crucial for determining the source of the about 2 mm/yr sea-level rise in the last century. Though the Antarctic ice sheet is much larger than its northern counterpart, the Greenland ice sheet is more likely to undergo dramatic changes in response to a warming trend. This can be attributed to the warmer Greenland climate, as well as a potential for amplification of a global warming trend in the polar regions of the Northern Hemisphere. In collaboration with Drs. Curt Davis and Craig Kluever of the University of Missouri, we are using data from satellite radar altimeters to measure changes in the elevation of the Southern Greenland ice sheet from 1978 to the present. Difficulties with systematic altimeter measurement errors, particularly in intersatellite comparisons, beset earlier studies of the Greenland ice sheet thickness. We use altimeter data collected contemporaneously over the global ocean to establish a reference for correcting ice-sheet data. In addition, the waveform data from the ice-sheet radar returns are reprocessed to better determine the range from the satellite to the ice surface. At JPL, we are focusing our efforts principally on the reduction of orbit errors and range biases in the measurement systems on the various altimeter missions. Our approach emphasizes global characterization and reduction of the long-period orbit errors and range biases using altimeter data from NASA's Ocean Pathfinder program. Along-track sea-height residuals are sequentially filtered and backwards smoothed, and the radial orbit errors are modeled as sinusoids with a wavelength equal to one revolution of the satellite. The amplitudes of the sinusoids are treated as exponentially-correlated noise processes with a

  8. Method of smoothing laser range observations by corrections of orbital parameters and station coordinates

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Lala, P.; Thao, Bui Van

    1986-11-01

    The first step in the treatment of satellite laser ranging data is its smoothing and rejection of incorrect points. The proposed method uses the comparison of observations with ephemerides and iterative matching of corresponding parameters. The method of solution and a program for a minicomputer are described. Examples of results for satellite Starlette are given.

  9. SELENE: The Moon-Orbiting Observatory Mission

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Mizutani, H.; Kato, M.; Sasaki, S.; Iijima, Y.; Tanaka, K.; Takizawa, Y.

    The Moon-orbiting SELENE (Selenological and Engineering Explorer) mission is prepared in Japan for lunar science and technology development. The launch target has been changed from 2005 to 2006 because of the launch failure of H2A rocket in 2003. The spacecraft consists of a main orbiting satellite at about 100 km altitude in the polar orbit and two sub-satellites in the elliptical orbits. The scientific objectives of the mission are; 1) study of the origin and evolution of the Moon, 2) in-situ measurement of the lunar environment, and 3) observation of the solar-terrestrial plasma environment. SELENE carries the instruments for scientific investigation, including mapping of lunar topography and surface composition, measurement of the gravity and magnetic fields, and observation of lunar and solar-terrestrial plasma environment. The total mass of scientific payload is about 300 kg. The mission period will be 1 year. If extra fuel is available, the mission will be extended in a lower orbit around 50 km. The elemental abundances are measured by x-ray and gamma-ray spectrometers. Alpha particles from the radon gas and polonium are detected by an alpha particle spectrometer. The mineralogical abundance is characterized by a multi-band imager. The mineralogical composition is identified by a spectral profiler which is a continuous spectral analyzer. The surface topographic data are obtained by a high resolution terrain camera and a laser altimeter. The inside structure up to 5 km below the lunar surface is observed by the radar sounder experiment using a 5 MHz radio wave. A magnetometer and an electron reflectometer provides data on the lunar surface magnetic field. Doppler tracking of the orbiter via the sub-satellite when the orbiter is in the far side is used to determine the gravity field of the far side. Radio sources on the two sub-satellites are used to conduct differential VLBI observation from the ground stations. The lunar environment of high energy particles

  10. Precise satellite orbit determination with particular application to ERS-1

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Fernandes, Maria Joana Afonso Pereira

    The motivation behind this study is twofold. First to assess the accuracy of ERS-1 long arc ephemerides using state of the art models. Second, to develop improved methods for determining precise ERS-1 orbits using either short or long arc techniques. The SATAN programs, for the computation of satellite orbits using laser data were used. Several facilities were added to the original programs: the processing of PRARE range and altimeter data, and a number of algorithms that allow more flexible solutions by adjusting a number of additional parameters. The first part of this study, before the launch of ERS-1, was done with SEAS AT data. The accuracy of SEASAT orbits computed with PRARE simulated data has been determined. The effect of temporal distribution of tracking data along the arc and the extent to which altimetry can replace range data have been investigated. The second part starts with the computation of ERS-1 long arc solutions using laser data. Some aspects of modelling the two main forces affecting ERS-l's orbit are investigated. With regard to the gravitational forces, the adjustment of a set of geopotential coefficients has been considered. With respect to atmospheric drag, extensive research has been carried out on determining the influence on orbit accuracy of the measurements of solar fluxes (P10.7 indices) and geomagnetic activity (Kp indices) used by the atmospheric model in the computation of at