Scientists at the DLR Institute of Technical Physics work on a laser based monitoring system to determine the position of space debris with high accuracy. To localize the objects, they are tracked by an optical telescope and irradiated with laser pulses. The distance to the object is calculated using the time that the laser light needs to travel from the ground to the object and back again. With this combination of laser propagation time measurement and position determination of objects in space, DLR researchers can determine the trajectory of an object at an altitude of 1000 kilometers to within a few meters and allow satellites to draw aside.
For this laser ranging application neoLASE developed a high energy laser system to further optimize the position accuracy of the space debris. The system has an excellent beam quality and enables a repetition rate range up to 1 kilohertz and pulse energies up to 50 millijoule. Due to the pulse duration of less than 10 nanoseconds this leads to a peak power of several megawatt. Beside laser rangeing applications the system is also ideal for spectroscopic applications like LIBS or Raman.