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The Precision Expandable Radar Calibration Sphere (PERCS) With Applications for Laser Imaging and Ranging

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Conference paper

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The Naval Research Laboratory will provide an orbiting calibration sphere to be used with ground-based laser imaging telescopes and HF radio systems. The Precision Expandable Radar Calibration Sphere PERCS is a practical, reliable, high-performance HF calibration sphere and laser imaging target to orbit at about 600 km altitude. The sphere will be made of a spherical wire frame with aspect independent radar cross section in the 3 to 35 MHz frequency range. The necessary launch vehicle to place the PERCS in orbit will be provided by the Department of Defense Space Test Program. The expandable calibration target has a stowed diameter of 1 meter and a fully deployed diameter of 10.2 meters. A separate deployment mechanism is provided for the sphere. After deployment the Precision Expandable Radar Calibration Sphere PERCS with 180 vertices will be in a high inclination orbit to scatter radio pulses from a number of ground systems, including 1 over-the-horizon OTH radars operated by the United States and Australia 2 high power HF facilities such as HAARP in Alaska, EISCAT in Norway, and Arecibo in Puerto Rico 3 the chain of high latitude SuperDARN radars used for auroral region mapping and 4 HF direction finding for Navy ships. With the PERCS satellite, the accuracy of HF radars can be periodically checked for range, elevation, and azimuth errors. In addition, each of the 360 vertices on the PERCS sphere will support an optical retro-reflector for operations with ground laser facilities used to track satellites. The ground laser systems will be used to measure the precise location of the sphere within one cm accuracy and will provide the spatial orientation of the sphere as well as the rotation rate. The Department of Defense facilities that can use the corner-cube reflectors on the PERCS include 1 the Air Force Maui Optical Site AMOS, 2 the

Subject Categories:

  • Astronomy
  • Lasers and Masers
  • Electrooptical and Optoelectronic Devices
  • Optical Detection and Detectors
  • Active and Passive Radar Detection and Equipment
  • Optics
  • Unmanned Spacecraft

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