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A Correlation Polarimeter for Deep Space Tracking.
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The tracking polarimeter implemented on the 64-meter National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationJet Propulsion Laboratory NASAJPL parabolic antenna at Goldstone, California uses a pair of waveguide quarter-wave plates to allow synthesis of a rotating cross-polarized linear feed system, and a phase-locked-loop PLL to coherently determine an error signal from the signal component in the error channel. This error signal drives the feed system until the error axis is orthogonal to the signal axis. Because the PLL has the normal loss of lock problem at low signal-to-noise ratios a correlation polarimeter has been developed. The PLL is replaced by a multiplier as a correlator. The correlation between the signal components in the reference and error channels accomplishes a detection of the error signal because both have same phase, since they are just different projections of the same signal vector. The analysis, the investigation of the theory by means of a working model, the development of the actual correlation polarimeter and the test series performed are described. Author
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