Addressing Space-Based Wind Lidar Challenges with the Optical Autocovariance Wind Lidar (OAWL)

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Wednesday, 5 February 2014: 9:30 AM
Room C302 (The Georgia World Congress Center )
Sara C. Tucker, Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp., Boulder, CO; and C. Weimer

Despite the strong need for global wind profiles to improve weather and air-quality forecasting, implementation of a space-based wind lidar mission in the US has faced multiple challenges over the last few decades, in areas that include technology readiness, reliability concerns, cost, and priority. To address some of these challenges, Ball Aerospace, with additional support from the NASA Earth Science Technology Office, has built and demonstrated the Optical Autocovariance (OA) Wind Lidar (OAWL) in ground and aircraft-based validation tests. OAWL uses a flexible modified Mach-Zehnder interferometer technique that, depending on the configuration, can measure Doppler shifts from aerosols and molecules, and can make use of different laser wavelengths including those already demonstrated in space and those currently in the space-qualification phase. We will present a brief history of various wind lidar mission concepts in the US and Europe and review some of the challenges faced. Then we will outline the OA approach and demonstrate how it can be used to meet these challenges. Finally, we will present an overview of the OAWL system design concept for the International Space Station that leverages experience and heritage from the CALIPSO lidar system on orbit since 2006.