Using lasers to observe space debris

Mit Lasern Weltraumschrott detektieren
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  • Labor
    Laser research

    The Institute of Technical Physics at the German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR) develops and builds lasers. In the future, lasers will be capable of detecting items of space debris and accelerating the decay of their orbits.

The continuously increasing number of space debris endangers space faring especially in low earth orbits. Scientists of the German Aerospace Centre (DLR) are currently developing an optical observation system featuring a pulsed laser capable of highly accurate position determination of particles measuring only a few centimetres in diameter. Laser beams are easy to focus, which is why angular coordinates may be measured very precisely by laser tracking. Moreover, distances can be measured by determining the time-of-flight of laser pulses (laser ranging). The exhibit is a simplified set-up to demonstrate how such a 3-D position measurement is carried out.

Last modified:
17/08/2012 16:07:34