The Global Ecosystems Dynamics Investigation (GEDI) Lidar Mission will employ three lasers systems internally developed, built, and tested by the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center Lasers and Electro-Optics Branch. Once installed on the Japanese Experiment Module (JEM) on the International Space Station (ISS), the lasers, each coupled with a Beam Dithering Unit (BDU) will produce three sets of staggered footprints on the Earth's surface to accurately measure global biomass. Each of the lasers is a heritage Nd:Yag solid state design required to put out Q-switched pulses at a rate of 242 Hz with a minimum 10 mJ per pulse at a 1064 nm wavelength. During the project, an engineering test unit (ETU) was also built and tested to pave the way for the laser systems to be used in space. We report on the technical and programmatic requirements that drove the design and development of the lasers. Also presented is an update of the performance of the engineering test unit qualification and life-testing along with the status of the space flight lasers.
Paul R. Stysley, D. Barry Coyle, Furqan Chiragh, Erich Frese, Michael Hersh, Kevin Smith, Gordon Blalock, Peter Morey, Juan Lander, Richard B. Kay, Demetrios Poulios, Greg B. Clarke, Kristen Washington, Cindy Kirchner, and Pete Mule, "Qualification of the solid state laser systems for the GEDI altimeter mission," Proc. SPIE 10636, Laser Radar Technology and Applications XXIII, 106360U (Presented at SPIE Defense + Security: April 18, 2018; Published: 10 May 2018); https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2305208.
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