The design and construction of a prototype lateral-transfer retro-reflector for inter-satellite laser ranging

Robert Ward, Roland Fleddermann, Suzanne Francis, C Mow-Lowry, Danielle Wuchenich, Mary M Elliot, F Gilles, M Herding, K Nicklaus, J Brown, J Burke, S Dligatch, David Farrant, K Green, J Seckold, Mark Blundell, R Brister, Craig Smith, Karsten Danzmann, G HeinzelD Schutze, Benjamin Sheard, William Klipstein, David McClelland, Daniel Shaddock

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    Abstract

    The Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (GRACE) mission, launched in 2002, is nearing an end, and a continuation mission (GRACE Follow-on) is on a fast-tracked development. GRACE Follow-on will include a laser ranging interferometer technology demonstrator, which will perform the first laser interferometric ranging measurement between separate spacecraft. This necessitates the development of lightweight precision optics that can operate in this demanding environment. In particular, this beam routing system, called the triple mirror assembly, for the GRACE Follow-on mission presents a significant manufacturing challenge. Here we report on the design and construction of a prototype triple mirror assembly for the GRACE Follow-on mission. Our constructed prototype has a co-alignment error between the incoming and outgoing beams of 9 ?rad, which meets the requirement that this error must be less than 10 ?rad.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)1-11
    JournalClassical and Quantum Gravity
    Volume31
    Issue number9
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 2014

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