As part of the geolocation accuracy assessment of lightning flashes detected by the Geostationary Lightning Mapper (GLM) on the GOES-16 and GOES-17 satellites (Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite), two satellite laser ranging stations employed laser beacon systems to generate transient light pulses that simulate natural lightning around 777.4 nm to validate the pre-launch spec of 5 km. The pulse width, repetition rate, wavelength, and power of the laser-pulses were configured to produce sufficient instrument response to be detected as synthetic lightning events by the GLM instrument. During the testing period from April 2017 to January 2018, the laser systems illuminated the GOES-16 satellite to observe diurnal variation of the GLM system response, with particular emphasis on geolocation accuracy. The final GOES-16 laser beacon tests, which used the latest updates of the geolocation algorithms implemented by the GOES-R Ground Segment, showed the offsets between the GLM geolocated location and the known laser locations were within 5 km.
Satellite range measurements which include differential time of flight measurement between simultaneous doubled and tripled Nd:YAG laser pulses are being made at the NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center's 1.2m telescope tracking facility. A description of the streak camera-based range receiver is given along with the differential time of flight measurement. Typical streak camera return waveforms are displayed from satellite tracks which include: ADEOS/RIS, AJISAI, GFZ-1, STELLA, and TOPEX.
The design, implementation, and evaluation of a high-resolution vidicon-based reconfigurable imaging system for integration into a photon-counting streak camera that can be readily coupled to a standard interface and computer have been achieved. Experimental results are reported which demonstrate that the design goals are met, providing the capability to measure differential time to better than 3 picosecond accuracy. Augmented by real-time calibration, the accuracy, linearity, noise levels, and stability of the system are adequate to support dual wavelength laser ranging.