Infrared cloud imaging in support of Earth-space optical communication

Paul W. Nugent, Joseph A. Shaw, Sabino Piazzolla
2009 Optics Express  
The increasing need for high data return from near-Earth and deep-space missions is driving a demand for the establishment of Earthspace optical communication links. These links will require a nearly obstruction-free path to the communication platform, so there is a need to measure spatial and temporal statistics of clouds at potential ground-station sites. A technique is described that uses a ground-based thermal infrared imager to provide continuous day-night cloud detection and
more » ... according to the cloud optical depth and potential communication channel attenuation. The benefit of retrieving cloud optical depth and corresponding attenuation is illustrated through measurements that identify cloudy times when optical communication may still be possible through thin clouds.
doi:10.1364/oe.17.007862 pmid:19434118 fatcat:vsnblsbi6fh23ei5utu5w7qb2u