In recent years, lasers have proven themselves to be invaluable to a variety of remote sensing applications. LIDAR techniques have been used to measure atmospheric aerosols and a variety of trace species, profile winds, and develop high resolution topographical maps. Often it would be of great advantage to make these measurements from an orbiting satellite. Unfortunately, the space environment is a challenging one for the high power lasers that would enable many LIDAR missions. Optical mounts must maintain precision alignment during and after launch. Outgassing materials in the vacuum of space lead to contamination of laser optics. Electronic components and optical materials must survive the space environment, including a vacuum atmosphere, thermal cycling, and radiation exposure. Laser designs must be lightweight, compact, and energy efficient. Many LIDAR applications require frequency conversion systems that have never been designed or tested for use in space. For the last six years the National Aeronautical and Space Administration (NASA) has undertaken a program specifically directed at addressing the durability and long term reliability issues that face space-borne lasers. The effort is shared between NASA Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, and NASA Langley Research Center in Hampton, Virginia. This paper is an overview of the issues facing space-borne lasers and the efforts that Goddard has been pursuing to address them.