In this paper, ESA's approach to lasers and detectors space evaluation and qualification will be explored. ESA has its
own international qualification system, the ESCC system. This system guarantees reliability, assurance and quality of
components, and hence a successful space mission. An overview of the ESCC (European Space Component
Coordination) system, as well as the relevant ECSS (European Cooperation for Space Standards) related standards
addressing components and hybrid qualification will be given. These standards are being constantly updated, through
well structured working groups, constantly coming up with new ways of qualifying space components. These components
are themselves constantly changing in terms of material, technology, and manufacturing processes.
The development of advanced Lidar systems for space applications and their evaluation by airborne or ground based test
campaigns is an important strategic element of the ESA Earth Observation Programme. These systems depend on robust
and reliable lasers and detector at their core function. Since the early eighties, ESA has been supporting the
development of the critical subsystems of any Lidar, i.e. lasers and detectors. Several missions, involving different kinds
of lidars, provide the requirements to be addressed in the Lidar risk mitigation activities. They also present a challenge
concerning their space qualification and reliability assurance. These missions are: ADM-Aeolus flying ALADIN a
Doppler Wind Lidar; EarthCARE embarking ATLID an Atmospheric Backscatter Lidar; three missions studied for their
feasibilities: WALES, A-SCOPE and ACCURATE, all using Differential Absorption Lidar in different ways to measure
respectively profiles of water vapour, total column of CO2 and greenhouse gases in an occultation geometry.