Modeling laser propagation in atmosphere for space debris tracking and pushing

Within the framework of the Space Environment Management Cooperative Research Centre, the ANU RSAA has partnered with EOS Space Systems to build a Laser Guide Star Adaptive Optics system (LGS AO) for the 1.8 EOS telescope on Mount Stromlo. The system will improve satellite tracking and characterization capabilities as well as include a feature to push the debris with a high-power laser. As a part of the AO system development, extensive work on the computer simulation and mathematical modelling is carried out.

The successful applicant will join the ANU/EOS team. The team has developed extensive numerical simulation tools to evaluate the performance of typical adaptive optics system intended for astronomical applications. The task for the successful candidate would be to refine those simulation tools to better model the systems we are currently developing for space debris tracking and pushing. This involves implementing numerically more demanding, but physically more accurate models of light propagation through atmospheric turbulence. Using those simulations, the successful candidate will then estimate the amount of laser power that can be projected from ground to objects in space, and how to best optimize an adaptive optics system for the purpose.

For more information about this potential research topic or activity, or to discuss any related research area, please contact the supervisor.