Sustainable Space Photonics

The "Sustainable Space Photonics" group develops and demonstrates optical technologies for the sustainable utilisation of space.

This currently includes the following focal points:

  • The development of retroreflectors and the associated ground station for laser-optical identification and precise orbit determination of satellites
  • the improvement of passive-optical technologies for the detection and characterisation of space debris, and
  • the qualification of laser optics, retroreflectors and optical sensor systems as payloads for satellites

For research purposes, the group operates a compact and transportable ground station for satellite laser ranging (the miniSLR®), as well as an experimental network of passive optical space observation systems (APPARILLO). Several clean room laboratories (ISO class 5) are available for the qualification of laser optics (current contributions are made to the well-known ESA missions LISA and Aeolus-2) and the construction of laser-optical sensors.


Wolfgang Riede

Head of department
German Aerospace Center (DLR)
Institute of Technical Physics
Active Optical Systems
Pfaffenwaldring 38-40, 70569 Stuttgart