T. Flom and D. Coombes

Peer Reviewed

Abstract: A Scanning Laser Radar that can acquire and track single or multiple targets has recently been developed. Scan patterns have been designed for acquisition and tracking of one or more targets using a narrow laser beam. A synchronously scanned transmitter-receiver is used to acquire and track targets anywhere in a 376 x 376 element raster covering a 30” x 30’ field. All scan patterns are electronically programmed and the system automatically acquires and tracks the target or targets without the aid of an operator. The maximum tracking rate is 1.0 deg/sec (10.0 deg/sec) when used with a 1 kHz (10 kHz) scan rate. The estimated free space range against passive cooperative targets (corner cube reflectors) is 30 nautical miles. The laser radar has an accuracy of 10 centimeters (range) and 0.05 degrees (angle). The developmental system is relatively small (1.5 cu. ft.), lightweight (60 pounds) and low power-consuming (60 watts). The developmental Scanning Laser Radar was designed primarily for future rendezvous and docking applications. The multiple target capability is uniquely used here to determine the relative attitude of a passive cooperative target vehicle so that the docking axes of the two spacecraft can be properly oriented. For docking maneuvers, the laser radar measures the line-of-sight range and angles to four separate reflectors located on the target vehicle. This range and angle information is then used to calculate the relative pitch, yaw, and roll angles between the docking axes of the respective vehicles. Using this measurement’ technique, the attitude can be determined to better than one degree. The results of an example calculation are included here to illustrate the technique.
Published in: NAVIGATION, Journal of the Institute of Navigation, Volume 21, Number 4
Pages: 298 - 309
Cite this article: Flom, T., Coombes, D., "MULTIPLE TARGET TRACKING AND TARGET ATTITUDE DETERMINATION WITH A SCANNING LASER RADAR", NAVIGATION, Journal of The Institute of Navigation, Vol. 21, No. 4, Winter 1974-1975, pp. 298-309.
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