Satellite Laser Ranging Photon-Budget Calculations for a Single Satellite Cornercube Retroreflector: Attitude Control Tolerance
DEFENCE SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY GROUP EDINBURGH (AUSTRALIA)
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The effect of cornercube retroreflector orientation on satellite laser ranging SLR detected photon counts is examined. It is found that a retroreflector tilt can ameliorate the effects of the satellite velocity aberration by broadening the reflected beam through diffraction. The optimal tilt angle, away from the SLR station, can be up to approximately 205 for the present retroreflector design. The size and direction of the tilt angle depend on the satellite velocity relative to the SLR station, and the direction of the satellite from the SLR station. The required attitude control tolerance is to within 17 of the optimal attitude control strategy determined in the present work. A pre-launch measurement of the reflectance diffraction pattern of each retroreflector is recommended to take account of the significant likely manufacturing variation.
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