13 September 2011 Qualification testing of the laser transmitter part for ESA's BepiColombo Laser Altimeter (BELA)
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Abstract
The BepiColombo Laser Altimeter (BELA) is one of 11 instruments aboard ESA's Mercury Planetary Orbiter (MPO) scheduled for launch in 2014. BELA will record the surface profile of the planet while orbiting around it at a distance of 400km to 1500km1. The altimetry data constitute an important prerequisite for a number of remote sensing and observation techniques residing on the same orbiter. The BELA instrument comprises a laser transmitter and a receiver part, the design of the former is being presented and discussed in this paper. The laser transmitter encompasses a pair of diode-pumped, actively Q-switched Nd:YAG rod oscillators which have been miniaturized, light-weighted and dimensioned for high electrical to optical efficiency. The key performance parameters of the laser will be presented. Laser design trades which are relevant for a space mission to Mercury and the BELA instrument in particular are discussed. An overview is given to the laser qualification programme which includes performance and environmental tests. Test results are presented which have been recorded during the qualification test campaign currently in progress at Carl Zeiss Optronics.
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K. Weidlich, K. Weidlich, M. Rech, M. Rech, R. Kallenbach, R. Kallenbach, } "Qualification testing of the laser transmitter part for ESA's BepiColombo Laser Altimeter (BELA)", Proc. SPIE 8159, Lidar Remote Sensing for Environmental Monitoring XII, 815906 (13 September 2011); doi: 10.1117/12.893071; https://doi.org/10.1117/12.893071
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