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Laser Ranging

Satellite Laser Ranging by SCOPE

Observation of satellites and space debris for high-precision orbit determination.

Multi-Static Space Debris Tracking

Synchronised & simultaneous observation of non-cooperative space targets by multiple SLR systems.

Range Gate Generator

Hardware for real-time command & control of laser firing and detector gating.

Satellite Laser Ranging by SCOPE

Observation of satellites and space debris for high-precision orbit determination.

Multi-Static Space Debris Tracking

Synchronised & simultaneous observation of non-cooperative space targets by multiple SLR systems.

Range Gate Generator

Hardware for real-time command & control of laser firing and detector gating.

SATELLITE LASER RANGING

High-precision satellite & space debris observations

Satellite Laser Ranging systems (SLR) are installed worldwide to observe satellites which are equipped with retro reflectors. Modern SLR systems measure the distance to space targets with an accuracy of up to a few millimeters.

SLR systems fire short laser pulses to a satellite or a space debris target.

A few photons from these laser pulses are reflected either by retro reflectors of a satellite or by the surface of an uncooperative space debris target back to the origin direction of the SLR system. Each time when the laser is emitted and when at least one reflected photon is received, the SLR system measures the time with an extremely high precision. From these time measurements the so called time-of-flight is computed and the distance to the target can be determined down to a few centimeters or even millimeters.
Today, many SLR systems have a laser firing frequency of 2kHz and operate in a single photon regime which means that per laser shot only one single, reflected photon is measured.

It is essential that every part of a SLR system operates precisely as well as the overall coordination of subsystem interaction is running optimally to achieve very high measurement accuracies. Our sophisticated command & control system "SCOPE" makes sure that the SLR operation works like a charm and is easy to use by the observers!

SATELLITE LASER RANGING

High-precision satellite & space debris observations

Satellite Laser Ranging systems (SLR) are installed worldwide to observe satellites which are equipped with retro reflectors. Modern SLR systems measure the distance to space targets with an accuracy of up to a few millimeters.

SLR systems fire short laser pulses to a satellite or a space debris target.

A few photons from these laser pulses are reflected either by retro reflectors of a satellite or by the surface of an uncooperative space debris target back to the origin direction of the SLR system. Each time when the laser is emitted and when at least one reflected photon is received, the SLR system measures the time with an extremely high precision. From these time measurements the so called time-of-flight is computed and the distance to the target can be determined down to a few centimeters or even millimeters.
Today, many SLR systems have a laser firing frequency of 2kHz and operate in a single photon regime which means that per laser shot only one single, reflected photon is measured.

It is essential that every part of a SLR system operates precisely as well as the overall coordination of subsystem interaction is running optimally to achieve very high measurement accuracies. Our sophisticated command & control system "SCOPE" makes sure that the SLR operation works like a charm and is easy to use by the observers!

WHAT IS SCOPE?

SCOPE is a command & control system for SLR stations which covers all aspects of the SLR operation. It was initially designed for the SLR system at GFZ in Potsdam/Germany where it is now in operation since 2012.

SCOPE comprises a modern user interface and central daemon software running the the background to command and control all hardware and security components in real-time. It allows to perform all SLR operations, observations and monitoring remotely, too. We also offer our complete SLR system simulator for verification, troubleshooting, training and demonstration.

WHAT IS SCOPE?

SCOPE is a command & control system for SLR stations which covers all aspects of the SLR operation. It was initially designed for the SLR system at GFZ in Potsdam/Germany where it is now in operation since 2012.

SCOPE comprises a modern user interface and central daemon software running the the background to command and control all hardware and security components in real-time. It allows to perform all SLR operations, observations and monitoring remotely, too. We also offer our complete SLR system simulator for software verification, troubleshooting, training and demonstration.

SCOPE FEATURES

The design of SCOPE encompasses decades of SLR knowledge from the Potsdam SLR system at hand.

SCOPE covers all features that are expected from modern SLR software for kHz systems and can be easily extended to support new user requirements and new applications. We provide SCOPE as a fully integrated package for specific SLR systems as well as tailored solutions to meet special customer requirements.

Well-tested system

benefit from a mature core system comprising astro-physical algorithms, precise timing, workflows and monitoring

Support for all operation aspects

SLR system initialization, calibration, satellite & space debris tracking, star observation, planning, different operation modes, semi-automatic operation, etc.

Sophisticated system design

Ready to integrate new hardware components, interfaces, software modules, operation modes, algorithms and other extensions.

Intuitional user interface

Easy to use GUI for the common observers plus detailed system interaction, monitoring & configuration for SLR experts.

Full SLR system simulator

Available for verification, algorithm & timing tests, replay of passes, internal trainings and demonstration to visitors.

Flexible custom configurations

Unlimited number of targets, day/night profiles, go/no-go flags, optical devices setup, different hardware profiles for multiple lasers, detectors and measurement systems switchable during run-time.

A new planning component allows the SLR system operator to comfortably create & schedule observation plans some days or weeks in advance!

SCOPE FEATURES

The design of SCOPE encompasses decades of SLR knowledge from the Potsdam SLR system at hand.

SCOPE covers all features that are expected from modern SLR software for kHz systems and can be easily extended to support new user requirements and new applications. We provide SCOPE as a fully integrated package for specific SLR systems as well as tailored solutions to meet special customer requirements.

A new planning component allows the SLR system operator to comfortably create & schedule observation plans some days or weeks in advance!

Well-tested system

benefit from a mature core system comprising astro-physical algorithms, precise timing, workflows and monitoring

Support for all operation aspects

SLR system initialization, calibration, satellite & space debris tracking, star observation, planning, different operation modes, semi-automatic operation, etc.

Sophisticated software design

Ready to integrate new hardware components, interfaces, software modules, operation modes, algorithms and other extensions.

Full SLR system simulator

Available for verification, algorithm & timing tests, replay of passes, internal trainings and demonstration to visitors.

Flexible custom configurations

Unlimited number of targets, day/night profiles, go/no-go flags, optical devices setup, different hardware profiles for multiple lasers, detectors and measurement systems switchable during run-time.

Intuitional user interface

Easy to use GUI for the common observers plus detailed system interaction, monitoring & configuration for SLR experts.

TECHNICAL BACKGROUND OF SCOPE

SCOPE is designed to operate on a single workstation or can be separated on two workstations for remote operation.

The software package is written in C, C++ and Python. All timing critical parts run on a Real-Time Linux (customized Gentoo Linux) to support very high command and control accuracies with jitters of +/-5µs despite e.g. high I/O load or cache pollution.

The main parts of SCOPE are communicating via TCP/IP:

Graphical user interface may be run remotely

Real-time component for hardware command & control

TECHNICAL BACKGROUND OF SCOPE

SCOPE is designed to operate on a single workstation or can be separated on two workstations for remote operation.

The software package is written in C, C++ and Python. All timing critical parts run on a Real-Time Linux (customized Gentoo Linux) to support very high command and control accuracies with jitters of +/-5µs despite e.g. high I/O load or cache pollution.

The main parts of SCOPE are communicating via TCP/IP:

Graphical user interface may be run remotely

Real-time software for hardware command and control

SYSTEM ENVIRONMENT & ARCHITECTURE

Implemented with C/C++ and Python, documented with Doxygen

SLR system simulator for verification, demonstration, training or gradual system extension by easy integration of e.g. new hardware components

Building system includes testing environment

Separated presentation layer, application logic and hardware access

SYSTEM ENVIRONMENT & ARCHITECTURE

Implemented with C/C++ and Python, documented with Doxygen

SLR system simulator for verification, demonstration, training or gradual system extension by easy integration of e.g. new hardware components

Build system includes testing environment

Separated presentation layer, application logic and hardware access

HARDWARE ENVIRONMENT

Operates on modern „Commercial-Off-The-Shelf“ workstation(s)

Linux platform ensures long-term maintainability and allows easy hardware upgrades in the future

Versatile support for hardware interfaces and extensions

HARDWARE ENVIRONMENT

Operates on modern „Commercial-Off-The-Shelf“ workstation(s)

Linux platform ensures long-term maintainability and allows easy hardware upgrades in the future

Versatile support for hardware interfaces and extensions

Multi Static Debris Tracking

SCOPE supports multi-static space debris tracking

DiGOS demonstrated for DLR the multi-static space debris tracking capabilities of the SLR system in Potsdam. In a dedicated campaign the colleagues from the IWF Graz SLR system illuminated different space debris targets with a powerful laser and single, reflected photons were measured in Potsdam.

SCOPE & RGG measured photons reflected from debris targets like SeaSat and two rocket bodies

Successful tracking campaign together with SLR system at IWF Graz

New ``multi-static operation mode`` is now available for all SCOPE deployments

Prepared with SCOPE

SLR station Potsdam verified for multi-static space debris observations (image by AIUB)

Multi Static Debris Tracking

SCOPE supports multi-static space debris tracking

DiGOS demonstrated for DLR the multi-static space debris tracking capabilities of the SLR system in Potsdam. In a dedicated campaign the colleagues from the SLR system at IWF Graz illuminated different space debris targets with a powerful laser and single, reflected photons were measured in Potsdam.

SCOPE & RGG measured photons reflected from debris targets like SeaSat and two rocket bodies

Successful tracking campaign together with SLR system at IWF Graz

Successful tracking campaign together with SLR system at IWF Graz

RANGE GATE GENERATOR

Hardware developments by DiGOS & GFZ

In 2015 DiGOS and the GFZ SLR team developed a new Range Gate Generator (RGG) which is now operating at SLR systems in Potsdam/Germany and Metsähovi/Finland

The Range Gate Generator meets the requirements of kHz SLR systems in Potsdam and Metsähovi. The new RGG is highly configurable, supports different operation modes, gate sizes, delay settings, etc. Its design is based on expertise from the previous Potsdam RGG.

RANGE GATE GENERATOR

Hardware developments by DiGOS & GFZ

In 2015 DiGOS and the GFZ SLR team developed a new Range Gate Generator (RGG) which is now operating at SLR systems in Potsdam/Germany and Metsähovi/Finland

The Range Gate Generator meets the requirements of both kHz SLR systems in Potsdam and Metsähovi. Its design is based on the expertise from the previous RGG which has been operated for many years in Potsdam. The new RGG is highly configurable to support different operation modes, gate sizes, delay settings, etc.

Features of the RGG

Input interfaces

Output interfaces

  • Fully supported by SCOPE

  • Dynamic timing configuration depending on target & operation mode

  • Emergency button for laser power off

  • Gating accuracy of <10ns

  • 19 inch rack unit (1RU)

  • Firmware written in C

  • 1PPS for time synchronization

  • 10MHz for clock signal

  • 2x RS-232 for command and control

  • Optional external stop signal

  • Laser trigger

  • Gate signal

  • Optional: autostop

Features

  • Fully supported by SCOPE

  • Dynamic timing configuration depending on target & operation mode

  • Emergency button for laser power off

  • Gating accuracy of <10ns

  • 19 inch rack unit (1RU)

  • Firmware written in C

Inputs

  • 1PPS for time synchronization

  • 10MHz for clock signal

  • 2x RS-232 for command and control

  • Optional external stop signal

Outputs

  • Laser trigger

  • Gate signal

  • Optional: autostop

Please don’t hesitate to ask us for additional information!

WHAT WE OFFER

DiGOS provides a complete system integration solution for SLR stations. This includes design and implementation of new SLR stations, upgrade and enhancement of existing SLR station with SCOPE as well as consulting, analysis and improvement of operational systems.

ENGINEERING

We offer planning, design and engineering for new SLR system or improving existing ones

CUSTOMIZATION

We implement our SCOPE solution according to your specific requirements

EXTENSION

We extend SCOPE to include extra operation modes and add more complex features

ADAPTATION

We adapt SCOPE as needed to support your telescope, laser, range gate, optical devices, dome, cameras, etc.

INTEGRATION

We perform complete system integration including SCOPE for your SLR system and support full SLR system commissioning

TRAINING

We train your staff in all aspects of SCOPE, and offer continuous maintenance and user support

WE ARE PART OF THE SLR COMMUNITY

Contribute to workshops and conferences

Share operational SLR knowledge

Support new scientific developments and system extensions for experiments

Follow an open development approach by delivering SCOPE with open interfaces or source code

Constantly enhance our systems by upcoming ILRS requirements

Share best practice examples with the SLR community

WE ARE PART OF THE SLR COMMUNITY

Contribute to workshops and conferences

Share operational SLR knowledge

Support new scientific developments and system extensions for experiments

Follow an open development approach by delivering SCOPE with open interfaces or source code

Constantly enhance our systems by upcoming ILRS requirements

Share best practice examples with the SLR community

We are part of the SLR Community! Let’s discuss new ideas or upcoming projects!