15 March 2016 The lunar laser communication demonstration time-of-flight measurement system: overview, on-orbit performance, and ranging analysis
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Abstract
The Lunar Laser Communication Demonstration (LLCD) flown on the Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer (LADEE) satellite achieved record uplink and downlink communication data rates between a satellite orbiting the Moon and an Earth-based ground terminal. In addition, the high-speed signals of the communication system were used to accurately measure the round-trip time-of-flight (TOF) of signals sent to the Moon and back to the Earth. The measured TOF data, sampled at a 20-kS/s rate, and converted to distance, was processed to show a Gaussian white noise floor typically less than 1 cm RMS. This resulted in a precision for relative distance measurements more than two orders-of-magnitude finer than the RF-based navigation and ranging systems used during the LADEE mission. This paper presents an overview of the LLCD TOF system, a summary of the on-orbit measurements, and an analysis of the accuracy of the measured data for the mission.
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M. L. Stevens, M. L. Stevens, R. R. Parenti, R. R. Parenti, M. M. Willis, M. M. Willis, J. A. Greco, J. A. Greco, F. I. Khatri, F. I. Khatri, B. S. Robinson, B. S. Robinson, D. M. Boroson, D. M. Boroson, "The lunar laser communication demonstration time-of-flight measurement system: overview, on-orbit performance, and ranging analysis", Proc. SPIE 9739, Free-Space Laser Communication and Atmospheric Propagation XXVIII, 973908 (15 March 2016); doi: 10.1117/12.2218624; https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2218624
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