Configurable, Multi-Beam, Doppler Ladar Based Precision Landing Sensor

Period of Performance: 06/17/2015 - 06/17/2016

$125K

Phase 1 STTR

Recipient Firm

Fibertek, Inc.
13605 Dulles Technology Drive Array
Herndon, VA 20171
Firm POC
Principal Investigator

Research Institution

Utah State University
Physics Department 4415 Old Main Hill
Logan, UT 84322
Institution POC

Abstract

Fibertek proposes a configurable, multi-beam, 1.5 um Doppler Lidar sensor, enabled by high-speed non-mechanical beam steering (NMBS). NMBS uses state-of-the-art, high-speed liquid-crystal based components, to provide wide-angle (up to +/- 45 degree), large-aperture, optical beam steering, at speeds of up to 10 kHz. Furthermore, this is integrated into a very compact optical transmit/receive terminal, designed for coherent lidar operation. The proposed Doppler Lidar sensor is estimated to be 4X lower SWaP, and have 3X-5X improved range performance over the current design for entry, descent, landing (EDL) sensors under development at NASA. In addition, the configurable, high-speed, beam-scan pattern provides enhanced functionality for velocity/range/attitude estimate, and even for terrain mapping. The Doppler Lidar landing sensor model will be developed by our Research Institution partner, leveraging their related work on 3D-imaging ladar. The proposed effort targets a space-qualifiable roadmap, as we will leverage ongoing inter-disciplinary engineering development and qualification at Fibertek, for high-reliability, high-power, fiber laser transmitter and transmit/receive optical terminal for deep-space mission.