Active illumination return from space objects in non-Kolmogorov atmospheres

Document Type

Conference Proceeding

Publication Date



© 2018 IEEE. We investigate the effect of non-Kolmogorov turbulence on the coherent return of a Gaussian beam illuminating a space object. This scenario is relevant to a number of sensing and imaging modalities including both Free Space Optical Communications Spotlight Mode Inverse Synthetic Apeture LIDAR. In this work, we evaluate a collimated Gaussian beam laser as it propagates up through an atmosphere that is either entirely, or partially comprised of non-Kolmogorov turbulence. We assume that that illumination spot size is much larger than the object being illuminated and that the scattering from the surface of the object is Lambertian. Two scenarios are examined: a nadir-pointing geosynchronous orbit illumination and illumination of a low Earth orbit object near the horizon. In each of these scenarios we will focus on the effect of a change in the power law on overall operational capability of coherent imaging and object characterization systems.

Publication Title

IEEE Aerospace Conference Proceedings