Lasers return from International Space Station

Fibre-coupled laser diodes manufactured by Seminex have returned from a successfully completed mission to the International Space Station. Two Seminex 4-pin lasers were used in lidar systems for navigation and range finding.

The company said in a press release that its lasers were chosen for their rugged design and established long term reliability. Seminex’s 1,550nm 4-pin lasers were chosen due to the eye safety requirements of the mission.

The systems were first qualified for use in August 2013 but had to endure extensive qualification testing prior to launch. The qualification included approximately one hundred billion laser pulses over a three week period. Seminex said that 100 per cent of the packaged laser diodes performed as expected, with no degradation in performance.

The company’s lasers are also under evaluation and qualification for point-to-point, secure, space-based communications. Fibre-coupled devices, TO can-packaged devices and laser chips are all under consideration. Seminex continues to work with its customers on engineering the most reliable, long-term solution for this new space application.

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By Dave MacLellan, Executive Director, AILU


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