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The automatic laser tracker

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1 Author(s)
Fitzgerald, B. ; Sylvania Electric Products Inc., Waltham, MA, USA

Missile and aircraft testing facilities have always relied on manually operated tracking cameras to obtain close-up photographic coverage of test runs. As long as the apparent target motion is less than about 60 degrees per second, an experienced operator can follow the target reasonably well. However, at higher rates or during unexpected motions, his capability falls off rapidly. To obtain accurate photo coverage of high-speed missile tests, an automatic Iaser tracker has been developed for the missile development test track at Holloman Air Force Base. The tracker can follow a rocket sled traveling at Mach 6 at a closest approach of 1000 feet. At this speed, the equivalent peak angular target motion is about 380 degrees per second. The automatic lascr tracker combines an optical transmitter - receiver system and a camera platform on the same pedestal. The pedestal and the tracker electronics are mounted in a mobile van so that the system can be moved to the best location for a particldar test. The van also protects the equipment and operator from the weather and provides room ???or maintenance and storage.

Published in:

Quantum Electronics, IEEE Journal of  (Volume:3 ,  Issue: 6 )