SpaceTech has assigned eagleyard Photonics to deliver space qualified DFB seed laser diodes at 1064 nm and 1645 nm for the LIDAR Frequency Reference Unit of German-French small satellite mission MERLIN (Methane Remote Sensing LIDAR Mission). With a scheduled launch for 2021, the German-French satellite mission is laid out to measure methane gas concentration by means of a LIDAR instrument (LIght Detection And Ranging) sending laser light pulses into the atmosphere and determining the gas concentration by the characteristics of the reflected light.
The DFB seed laser diodes will also be used for the 2nd generation of engineering models in 2017, the qualification models and the flight models in 2018. SpaceTech is the responsible contractor for the frequencyreference-unit of the LIDAR instrument of the entire mission program. The decision to choose eagleyard as the supplier for the DFB seed laser diodes was based not only on their one-stop product portfolio - offering both required wavelengths of 1064nm and 1645nm simultaneously, but also on eagleyard’s international successful space references - highlighting the successful ESA-GAIA mission as well as the NASA C.A.T.S. (Cloud Aerosol Transmission System) mission, both utilizing eagleyard’s 14-pin butterfly DFB laser diodes. In fact the NASA C.A.T.S mission is already operating a LIDAR instrument on board of the International Space Station (ISS) seeded by an eagleyard laser diode.
eagleyard also possesses the capability of its quality division providing competence and authority to autonomously run a space related Lot Acceptance Test campaign (LAT) fully compliant with their customers’ needs. Temperature cycle tests, vibrational and shock tests, radiation tests and life time tests are part of a larger variety of harsh environmental test runs. Their long lasting experience with the successful execution of such LAT campaigns, in conjunction with a careful balance between necessary quality assurance aspects within budget constraints made eagleyard furthermore a contributing member of ESA Photonics Working Group which defines and proposes useful guidelines for ESCC standards in order to qualify laser diodes in a meaningful way for space applications.