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BELA transmitter performance and pointing stability verification campaign at DLR-PF

Althaus, Christian and Michaelis, Harald and Hussmann, Hauke and Lingenauber, Kay and Kallenbach, Reinald and Togno, Simone and Lüdicke, Fabian (2018) BELA transmitter performance and pointing stability verification campaign at DLR-PF. Acta Astronautica, 154, pp. 103-118. Elsevier. DOI: 10.1016/j.actaastro.2018.09.032 ISSN 0094-5765

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Official URL: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0094576518308580


BELA is the first European planetary laser altimeter and shall be launched onboard of ESA's Mercury Planetary Orbiter (MPO) as part of the BepiColombo spacecraft in October 2018. The complete development of the in- strument was done in collaboration with team members in Switzerland, Germany and Spain. The transmitter is also the first space-qualified laser system for a planetary mission built in Europe. Highly important for scientific performance is the transmitter's performance which is specified with demanding values. Thermo-optical pointing stability, alignment, pulse energy, wavelength, pulse profile and length have a direct impact on the signal quality and strength of the instrument and in consequence on the quality of science data. Furthermore for in-orbit operation the detailed knowledge of the transmitter behavior is required for the interpretation of measurement data. Therefore the transmitter, an encapsulated diode pumped pulsed Nd:YAG laser, was extensively tested at facilities at DLR in Berlin-Adlershof under various environmental conditions in all possible representative configurations. This is necessary because thermo-elastic and optical behavior are difficult to predict accurately only theoretically. Furthermore there are temperature dependent effects, e.g. for laser energy, which directly affect science measurements and can only be calibrated on-ground. An optical test bench was designed and set up for this particular task. This work describes the test bench and the measurement procedures. The measure- ment results for the Engineering Qualification Model and Flight Model are presented and discussed as well as lessons learned. The outcome of the tests shows that the BELA FM transmitter performs well with margins and BELA is expected to achieve its scientific goals.

Item URL in elib:https://elib.dlr.de/124780/
Document Type:Article
Title:BELA transmitter performance and pointing stability verification campaign at DLR-PF
AuthorsInstitution or Email of AuthorsAuthors ORCID iD
Althaus, ChristianChristian.Althaus (at) dlr.deUNSPECIFIED
Michaelis, HaraldHarald.Michaelis (at) dlr.deUNSPECIFIED
Hussmann, Haukehauke.hussmann (at) dlr.deUNSPECIFIED
Lingenauber, Kaykay.lingenauber (at) dlr.deUNSPECIFIED
Kallenbach, Reinaldreinald.kallenbach (at) dlr.deUNSPECIFIED
Togno, SimoneSimone.DelTogno (at) dlr.deUNSPECIFIED
Lüdicke, Fabianfabian.luedicke (at) dlr.deUNSPECIFIED
Date:10 October 2018
Journal or Publication Title:Acta Astronautica
Refereed publication:Yes
Open Access:Yes
Gold Open Access:No
In ISI Web of Science:Yes
DOI :10.1016/j.actaastro.2018.09.032
Page Range:pp. 103-118
Keywords:Mercury BELA BepiColombo Laser altimeter Transmitter Verification
HGF - Research field:Aeronautics, Space and Transport
HGF - Program:Space
HGF - Program Themes:Space Science and Exploration
DLR - Research area:Raumfahrt
DLR - Program:R EW - Erforschung des Weltraums
DLR - Research theme (Project):Projekt BepiColombo MERTIS und BELA
Location: Berlin-Adlershof
Institutes and Institutions:Institute of Planetary Research > Planetary Sensor Systems
Institute of Planetary Research > Planetary Geodesy
Deposited By: Althaus, Christian
Deposited On:11 Dec 2018 08:44
Last Modified:23 Feb 2019 00:23

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