RE: ICESAT laser status?

From: Gregg Hendry (
Date: Tue Jan 17 2006 - 21:33:40 EST

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    The laser's aboard ICESat are life limited items and their power diminishes with time.  The green channel currently operating on ICESat is now rather dim and reportedly running at something like only 10% of new.  I believe one would have to be hit directly by a laser spot at this low power to see even a brief green twinkle.  The spot size is on the order of 100 meters in diameter and reliably predicting a satellite's position to within 100 meters from elements available on the net is probably not possible.
    I am saving my late night trips to chase laser beams from space for Calipso.   A brand new laser would be worth seeing.
    Gregg Hendry
    Subject:   	RE: ICESAT laser status?
    Date:   	Fri, 13 Jan 2006 16:05:09 +0000   [View Source]
    Kevin Fetter wrote
    The green and infra-red laser is nadir pointing. This means it point towards the 
    earth, so if the
    satellite is at the zenith, you should in theory see green laser light. You have 
    to be close to
    the satellite ground track, to see direct laser light. 
    Not sure how far off track you can be, before you don't see reflected laser 
    light off the stuff in
    the air.
    The laser fires 40 times a second.
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