Twenty Years Later…Laser Technology is Still in Space!

by mphippen 21. October 2013 12:02

NASA Custom-Built Proximity Laser In Action Today...

As of this writing, the International Space Station (ISS) has been in low orbit over the earth for 5,449 days, 7 hours, 31 minutes, and 58 seconds…and counting! You may recall from one of our earlier blogs that in 1993 Laser Technology was approached by NASA. They needed a custom-built close proximity laser that could measure both distances and speeds for their space docking missions. LTI was awarded the contract and began engineering and designing the laser needed to accommodate NASA.

Luca Parmitano, a flight engineer of Expedition 37,
using LTI laser rangefinder in space.

Since NASA needed to accurately measure the proximity and velocity from the space shuttle to their now privately owned Intelsat satellites; radar technology was out -- it would have damaged the sensitive circuitry of their equipment. LTI's laser-based technology was the perfect alternative.

In September 2013 ‘Expedition 37’ began undocking from Soyuz TMA-08M to receive three new crew members; Fyodor Yurchikhin, Karen Nyberg, and Luca Parmitano. Luca can be seen using LTI's NASA Laser to dock with the Cygnus cargo craft.

When NASA closed it set up a space partnership with Orbital Sciences Corporation located in Dulles, VA to in part supply the Space Station with supplies and equipment. Cygnus's most recent delivery brought about 1,300 pounds of cargo including food, clothing and student experiments.

The ‘Expedition 37’ crew of the ISS wrapped up the workweek last Friday with a full slate of robotics, physics and human research experiments. With continual docking and undocking Laser Technology's twenty year old NASA Laser continues to play an integral role in this ongoing discovery in space.

If you're interested in watching space docking maneuvers NASA TV provided live coverage of the newest U.S. commercial cargo spacecraft October 18, 2013, and will also cover the departure of the fourth European Space Agency (ESA) Automated Transfer Vehicle beginning at 4:45 am EST Monday October 28, 2013; the LTI Docking System will of course be used.

To experience the most accurate speed and range pulse lasers on the planet, let us put one of LTI's family of lasers in your hands for a test drive. Call 1-800-OWN-A-LTI or email us for a practical demonstration.

Read LTI's Historical Moment on the NASA Close Proximity Laser
More information on Expedition 37.

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