22 April 1996 Relay mirror experiment
Author Affiliations +
Originating out of a SDIO-funded, Phase 1 study effort, two ground systems and an orbiting EO payload/spacecraft were the primary equipment for the RME. The RME was originally conceived to be a shuttle deployed experiment. Shortly after program start, the Challenger disaster occurred, with the promise of extensive delays. A completely new space segment was to be designed incorporating a free-flying spacecraft. During the midphase of the program, a variety of launch vehicles were envisioned to replace the shuttle, requiring the BASD team to design accommodations for Delta, Atlas, and Titan, with a Delta launch being the final solution. The ground systems tracked the spacecraft and illuminated it with green and blue beacon lasers. The Payload Experiment Package (PEP) housed the bisection tracker, a key innovation central to the experiment. The bisection tracker acquired both beacons and controlled steerable mirrors to accomplish fine tracking of the two cooperative beacons. In the process, the relay mirror was precisely positioned to enable a successful relay of a third infrared laser between the two ground sites via the orbiting spacecraft. Many of the key technologies employed in the PEP were originally developed for Ball laser communications research and development programs and other laser pointing efforts. The WAVE sensor package, built by ATA and integrated by Ball, measured the vibrations of the optical base structure on which it was mounted. These spacecraft vibration data are critical to the accurate pointing of space laser communication terminals.
© (1996) COPYRIGHT Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers (SPIE). Downloading of the abstract is permitted for personal use only.
David L. Begley, "Relay mirror experiment", Proc. SPIE 2699, Free-Space Laser Communication Technologies VIII, (22 April 1996); doi: 10.1117/12.238430; https://doi.org/10.1117/12.238430

Back to Top