Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science


Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering

First Advisor

Byron M. Welsh, PhD


This research determines the performance requirements of a combined optical LADAR space-based system in order to detect and track deep-space satellites from a near-earth orbit satellite. The research derives the necessary equations to compare both direct and heterodyne detection techniques. The selection of the candidate laser systems is based on current space developed LADAR technology. The selection of the detector, detector size, and optic size are determined in order to maximize the signal-to-noise ratio. The analysis includes the effects of beam truncation, obscuration, pixel geometry, and background radiance. The results indicate that the direct detection technique with a GaA1As semiconductor laser and a charge-couple device detector provided the best signal-to-noise ratio for the range selected. In addition, the visible detection capability of the smallest entrance pupil system is compared with that of GEODSS. For the parameters chosen, the results indicate that this system should, on average, be able to detect objects of smaller size than GEODSS.

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The author's Vita page is omitted.