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Journal Article

Laser beam steering for GRACE Follow-On intersatellite interferometry

MPS-Authors

Schütze,  Daniel
Laser Interferometry & Gravitational Wave Astronomy, AEI-Hannover, MPI for Gravitational Physics, Max Planck Society;

Stede,  Gunnar
Laser Interferometry & Gravitational Wave Astronomy, AEI-Hannover, MPI for Gravitational Physics, Max Planck Society;

Müller,  Vitali
Laser Interferometry & Gravitational Wave Astronomy, AEI-Hannover, MPI for Gravitational Physics, Max Planck Society;

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Gerberding,  Oliver
Laser Interferometry & Gravitational Wave Astronomy, AEI-Hannover, MPI for Gravitational Physics, Max Planck Society;

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Sheard,  Benjamin
Laser Interferometry & Gravitational Wave Astronomy, AEI-Hannover, MPI for Gravitational Physics, Max Planck Society;

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Heinzel,  Gerhard
Laser Interferometry & Gravitational Wave Astronomy, AEI-Hannover, MPI for Gravitational Physics, Max Planck Society;

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Danzmann,  Karsten
Laser Interferometry & Gravitational Wave Astronomy, AEI-Hannover, MPI for Gravitational Physics, Max Planck Society;

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Citation

Schütze, D., Stede, G., Müller, V., Gerberding, O., Bandikova, T., Sheard, B., et al. (2014). Laser beam steering for GRACE Follow-On intersatellite interferometry. Optics Express, 22(20), 24117-24132. doi:10.1364/OE.22.024117.


Cite as: http://hdl.handle.net/11858/00-001M-0000-0023-E043-6
Abstract
The GRACE Follow-On satellites will use, for the first time, a Laser Ranging Interferometer to measure intersatellite distance changes from which fluctuations in Earth’s geoid can be inferred. We have investigated the beam steering method that is required to maintain the laser link between the satellites. Although developed for the specific needs of the GRACE Follow-On mission, the beam steering method could also be applied to other intersatellite laser ranging applications where major difficulties are common: large spacecraft separation and large spacecraft attitude jitter. The beam steering method simultaneously coaligns local oscillator beam and transmitted beam with the laser beam received from the distant spacecraft using Differential Wavefront Sensing. We demonstrate the operation of the beam steering method on breadboard level using GRACE satellite attitude jitter data to command a hexapod, a six-degree-of-freedom rotation and translation stage. We verify coalignment of local oscillator beam/ transmitted beam and received beam of better than 10 μrad with a stability of 10 μrad/ Hz−−−√ in the GRACE Follow-On measurement band of 0.002...0.1 Hz. Additionally, important characteristics of the beam steering setup such as Differential Wavefront Sensing signals, heterodyne efficiency, and suppression of rotation-to-pathlength coupling are investigated and compared with analysis results.