NTRS - NASA Technical Reports Server
A method of atmospheric density measurements during Shuttle entry using UV laser Rayleigh scatteringA detailed study is described of the performance capabilities and the hardware requirements for a method in which ambient density is measured along the Space Shuttle flight path using on-board optical instrumentation. The technique relies on Rayleigh scattering of light from a pulsed, ultraviolet, ArF excimer laser operating at a wavelength of 193 nm. The method is shown to be capable of providing direct measurements of ambient density with an uncertainty of less than 1 percent and with a spatial resolution of 1 km, over an altitude range from 50 to 90 km. In addition, extensions of this concept are discussed that allow measurements of the shock wave location and the density profile within the shock layer. Two approaches are identified that appear to be feasible, in which the same laser system is used for the extended measurements as that required for the ambient density measurements.
Mckenzie, Robert L. (NASA Ames Research Center Moffett Field, CA, United States)
August 13, 2013
June 1, 1987