This Spotlight describes the operational principle of an instrument based on the LADAR equation and summarizes the requirements for debris removal. It discusses key LADAR components, such as lasers, detectors, and scanning optics, in terms of their performance in a space environment. The different types of LADAR are compared under different mission scenarios.
A compact space rangefinder is used to explain basic design considerations. An unobstructed 360-deg scanning LADAR illustrates the benefits of a novel design for a mission that requires a wide FOV. Finally, some hybrid concepts that use scanning optics on the launching side and camera optics on the return side are discussed; they utilize the fact that there are no other objects around space debris that contribute solar background signal to gain performance while minimizing the MVP requirements.