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Megahertz repetition rate satellite laser ranging demonstration at Graz observatory

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Abstract

Using ultra-high repetition rate lasers ($\ge {100}\;{\rm kHz}$) is one of the most promising strategies for the next generation of satellite laser ranging (SLR) systems. We present successful 1 MHz repetition rate SLR to targets up to inclined geosynchronous orbits at nighttime. Among those, a maximum return rate of up to 53% was achieved, equivalent to 265 k returns per second for the satellite Swarm-B. In addition, daytime megahertz (MHz) SLR was realized by utilizing a propagated MHz range gate to reduce the massive background noise. In the future, MHz SLR will greatly improve current technology with respect to data amount and data precision, shorter acquisition time, target signature detection, and attitude determination.

© 2021 Optical Society of America

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