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High stability laser for next generation gravity missions

: Nicklaus, K.; Herding, M.; Wang, X.; Beller, N.; Fitzau, O.; Giesberts, M.; Herper, M.; Barwood, G.P.; Williams, R.A.; Gill, P.; Koegel, H.; Webster, S.A.; Gohlke, M.


Sodnik, Zodan (ed.) ; Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers -SPIE-, Bellingham/Wash.:
International Conference on Space Optics, ICSO 2014 : 6-10 October 2014, Tenerife, Canary Islands, Spain
Bellingham, WA: SPIE, 2017 (Proceedings of SPIE 10563)
Art.105632T, 8 pp.
International Conference on Space Optics (ICSO) <10, 2014, La Caleta/Tenerife>
Conference Paper
Fraunhofer ILT ()

With GRACE (launched 2002) and GOCE (launched 2009) two very successful missions to measure earth’s gravity field have been in orbit, both leading to a large number of publications. For a potential Next Generation Gravity Mission (NGGM) from ESA a satellite-to-satellite tracking (SST) scheme, similar to GRACE is under discussion, with a laser ranging interferometer instead of a Ka-Band link to enable much lower measurement noise. Of key importance for such a laser interferometer is a single frequency laser source with a linewidth <10 kHz and extremely low frequency noise down to 40 Hz / √Hz in the measurement frequency band of 0.1 mHz to 1 Hz, which is about one order of magnitude more demanding than LISA. On GRACE FO a laser ranging interferometer (LRI) will fly as a demonstrator. The LRI is a joint development between USA (JPL,NASA) and Germany(GFZ,DLR). In this collaboration the JPL contributions are the instrument electronics, the reference cavity and the single frequency laser, while STI as the German industry prime is responsible for the optical bench and the retroreflector. In preparation of NGGM an all European instrument development is the goal.