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High reproducible CO2 laser spliced fiber-collimator for a space borne laser system

: Böhme, S.; Fabian, S.; Kamm, A.; Peschel, T.; Beckert, E.; Tünnermann, A.; Nicklaus, K.; Dehne, M.


Cugny, B. ; Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers -SPIE-, Bellingham/Wash.:
International Conference on Space Optics, ICSO 2016 : 18-21 October 2016, Biarritz, France
Bellingham, WA: SPIE, 2017 (Proceedings of SPIE 10562)
ISBN: 978-1-5106-1613-4
Art. 105625W, 6 S.
International Conference on Space Optics (ICSO) <2016, Biarritz>
Fraunhofer IOF ()

The Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment Follow-On (GRACE FO) is a space borne mission to map variations in the earth's gravity field with an even greater accuracy than the first GRACE mission. GRACE FO is a collaborative project of NASA (USA) and GFZ (Germany) scheduled for launch in 2017. On GRACE the gravity field is reconstructed from a measurement of the distance variation between two satellites following each other in 200 km distance by use of a microwave ranging instrument. On GRACE FO a laser ranging interferometer (LRI) is added as a demonstrator in addition to the microwave. Moving from microwave range to optical wavelengths provides an improvement in distance measurement noise from some μm/âHz to 80 nm/âHz down to 0.01 Hz frequency. The criteria on the beam delivery system are demanding, in particular with respect to laser beam quality, wave front deviation and pointing as well as thermal and mechanical stability. Conventionally such a system can be m anufactured with at least two special mounted lenses or an aspheric lens aligned with respect to the fiber end. However, the alignment of this optical system must be maintained throughout the mission, including the critical launch phase and a wide temperature range in orbit, leading to high alignment effort and athermal design requirements. The monolithic fiber-collimator presented here provides excellent optical and thermal and mechanical performance. It is a part of the LRI and located on the Optical Bench Assembly (OBA) which has already been described in [1, 3].