Laser radar for entry, descent, and landing (EDL) applications as well as the space docking problem could benefit from a low size, weight, and power (SWaP) beam control system. Moreover, an inertia free approach employing non-mechanical beam control is also attractive for laser radar that is intended to be employed aboard space platforms. We are investigating a non-mechanical beam steering (NMBS) sub-system based on liquid crystal polarization grating (LCPG) technology with emphasis placed on improved throughput and significant weight reduction by combining components and drastically reducing substrate thicknesses. In addition to the advantages of non-mechanical, gimbal free beam control, and greatly improved SWaP, our approach also enables wide area scanning using a scalable architecture. An extraterrestrial application entails additional environmental constraints, consequently an environmental test plan tailored to an EDL mission will also be discussed. In addition, we will present advances in continuous fine steering technology which would complement the coarse steering LCPG technology. A low-SWaP, non-mechanical beam control system could be used in many laser radar remote sensing applications including meteorological studies and agricultural or environmental surveys in addition to the entry, descent, and landing application.
Jay E. Stockley, Kelly Kluttz, Lance Hosting, Steve Serati, Cullen P. Bradley, Paul F. McManamon, and Farzin Amzajerdian, "Non-mechanical beam control for entry, descent and landing laser radar (Conference Presentation)," Proc. SPIE 10191, Laser Radar Technology and Applications XXII, 101910M (Presented at SPIE Defense + Security: April 12, 2017; Published: 7 June 2017); https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2262891.5459349159001.
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