Title: First Demonstration of an Optical Autocovariance Direct Detection Wind Lidar
Author: Christian Grund
Organization: Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp
Co-Authors: Sara Tucker, Tom Delker

The Decadal Survey 3-D winds mission is intended to help fill critical currently unmet environmental sensing needs. Last year we reported on the design, development, and validation plans for an Optical Autocovariance Wind Lidar (OAWL). This year we report on first OAWL wind lidar operations and preparations for impending ground and airborne validation campaigns. OAWL uses a unique high resolution interferometric receiver and direct-detection to efficiently and accurately measure the profiles of wind speed by resolving the optical Doppler shift of aerosol backscatter from a pulsed laser at 355nm. Together with an etalon front end measuring the winds from molecular backscatter in clear air, the Integrated Direct Detection (DD) ìhybridî approach offers a single laser and wavelength architecture for the 3D-Winds mission providing an alternative ìhybridî approach that promises to reduce cost and complexity while achieving the required full atmosphere profiling capability (i.e. aerosol + molecular backscatter winds). A three year IIP is in progress that has completed an operational OAWL lidar system. We show first ground wind profile data from this system and discuss plans for full ground and airborne validations this year.