Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science


Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering

First Advisor

Stephen C. Cain, PhD


Current tracking and adaptive optics techniques cannot compensate for fast-moving extended objects, which is important for ground-based telescopes providing space situational awareness. To fill this need, a vector-projection maximum-likelihood wave-front sensing algorithm development and testing follows for this application. A derivation and simplification of the Cramer-Rao Lower Bound for wavefront sensing using a laser guide star bounds the performance of these systems and guides implementation of a vastly optimized maximum-likelihood search algorithm. A complete analysis of the bias, mean square error, and variance of the algorithm demonstrates exceptional performance of the new sensor. A proof of concept implementation shows feasibility of deployment in modern adaptive optics systems. The vector-projection maximum-likelihood sensor satisfies the need for tracking and wave-front sensing of extended objects using current adaptive optics hardware designs.

AFIT Designator


DTIC Accession Number