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Electro-Optic Laser Scanners for Space-Based Lidar, Phase I

Completed Technology Project

Project Introduction

Electro-Optic Laser Scanners for Space-Based Lidar, Phase I
Vescent Photonics propose to design and build revolutionary non-mechanical, electro-optic (EO) laser scanners that will be suitable for space based laser ranging, with a specific focus on the upcoming Lidar Surface Topography (LIST) mission. The success of past and current space based lidar missions (e.g., ICESat, CALIPSO, Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter, MESSENGER) has demonstrated the utility of lidar. LIST, which will provide a high-resolution (5 meters horizontal and 10 centimeters vertical) topographic map of the Earth, will enable a vast array of important research including: detection of active faults, global shifts in vegetation patterns, coastal erosion, assessment of wildfire risk, and many more. To realize this (with the preferred scanned approach) new scanner technology is required. The scanner must provide 1000 resolvable spots at a rep rate of 10 kHz and must survive launch and maintain calibrated operation throughout the multiyear mission lifetime. Mechanical scanners are too slow and fragile, and current EO scanners provide insufficient resolution. The goal of this SBIR is to develop (from a current TRL 3 to 4 at end of phase I and 6 and end of phase II) and provide new EO scanners that will be suitable for LIST and other NASA lidar needs. More »

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