Intersatellite laser ranging with homodyne optical phase locking for Space Advanced Gravity Measurements mission

Yeh, Hsien-Chi; Yan, Qi-Zhong; Liang, Yu-Rong; Wang, Ying; Luo, Jun
April 2011
Review of Scientific Instruments;Apr2011, Vol. 82 Issue 4, p044501
Academic Journal
In this paper, we present the scheme and the preliminary results of an intersatellite laser ranging system that is designed for the Earth's gravity recovery mission proposed in China, called Space Advanced Gravity Measurements (SAGM). The proposed intersatellite distance is about 100 km and the precision of inter-satellite range monitoring is 10 nm/Hz1/2 at 0.1 Hz. To meet the needs, we designed a transponder-type intersatellite laser ranging system by using a homodyne optical phase locking technique, which is different from the heterodyne optical phase-locked loop used in GRACE follow-on mission. Since an ultrastable oscillator is unnecessary in the homodyne phase-locked loop, the measurement error caused by the frequency instability of the ultrastable oscillator need not be taken into account. In the preliminary study, a heterodyne interferometer with 10-m baseline (measurement arm-length) was built up to demonstrate the validity of the measurement scheme. The measurement results show that a resolution of displacement measurement of about 3.2 nm had been achieved.


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