Laser & Electro-Optics Research at NASA GSFC

Speaker: Dr. Michael Krainak
NASA Goddard Space Flight Center
Greenbelt, MD
Date: Tues, March 19, 2013
Meeting at National Air & Space Museum (NASM), Washington, DC
(reservations required)            

Joint Meeting of National Capital Section of Optical Society of America
and IEEE Photonics Society Washington-N.Va. Chapter

We review recent NASA laser instrument mission results including the Mercury Laser Altimeter (MLA) and the Lunar Orbiting Laser Altimeter (LOLA).  Future Earth science laser missions currently being developed by NASA included the Ice Cloud and Land Elevation Satellite-2 (ICESat-2) Advanced Topographic Laser Altimeter System (ATLAS) scheduled for launch in 2016; the Active Sensing of CO2 Emissions over Nights, Days, and Seasons (ASCENDS) mission, which will be the first laser spectroscopy from space with the objective to profile aerosol and cloud for climate and water cycle; ocean color for open ocean biogeochemistry. The Lidar Surface Topography (LIST) mission is to globally map the topography of the Earth's solid surface with 5 m spatial resolution and 10 cm vertical precision, as well as the height of overlying covers of vegetation, water, snow, and ice. The Laser Communications Relay Demonstration (LCRD) will demonstrate optical communications relay services between a geosynchronous satellite and Earth over an extended period, and thereby gain the knowledge and experience base that will enable NASA to design, procure, and operate cost-effective future optical communications systems and relay networks. Additional research efforts include a sodium lidar for heliophysics and a 3D laser vision system for satellite robotic reservicing.

Speaker Biography
Michael Krainak received his BS in electrical engineering from Catholic University and MS and PhD in Electrical Engineering from Johns Hopkins University.  He started his career as a telephone switch office field engineer for AT&T Western Electric.  He worked for ten years at the National Security Agency in signal processing, Fourier optics, and microelectronic circuit design. For the past twenty-two years he has worked at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center on inter-satellite laser communications and lidar. Dr. Krainak is presently the Head of the Laser and Electro-Optics Branch at NASA-GSFC.

Afternoon- go down early and see the full museum collection until 5:30 PM closing.
“Hubble 3D” is currently showing in Lockheed Martin IMAX Theater at 4:45 PM (43 minutes) and  “Journey to the Stars” is currently showing in the Einstein Planetarium at 5:00 PM (25 minutes). Check NASM web site ( ) for updated times of these and other events and showings.

6:00 PM            Security check-in (please enter through the Independence Avenue entrance).
6:30 PM            Social period and networking in (???) area of the museum with drinks and .
7:00 PM            Lecture.

An attendance list must be provided to NASM Security in advance and food and refreshment arrangements need to be made.  Please notify either Peter Hill ( or George Simonis ( by COB Monday, 18 March, if you plan to attend the meeting.

Directions to NASM on the mall may be found at .
Parking:  Limited metered street parking is available. Please read signs carefully for parking hours and permit restrictions. Parking is available in several local lots, including two blocks south of the Museum at 4th and C Sts (under Holiday Inn) and also at L’Enfant Plaza. 

Metro:  The Museum is located near metro stops on the blue, orange, yellow and green lines. The closest MetroRail stops are L'Enfant Plaza and Smithsonian.