Asteroid Redirection Using Energetic Synchronized Femtosecond Pulses

Asteroid Redirection Using Energetic Synchronized Femtosecond Pulses

Docket: UAH-P-15012


Researchers at UAH have developed a method to enable generation, maintenance, and use of a high spatial resolution 3-D map of an object in space, such as an asteroid discovered to be on collision course with Earth.

An application of interest is a 3-D map of the asteroid surface maintained in real time throughout an ablative propulsive redirection event. Such a process alters the asteroid surface in a manner and to a degree that will require maintenance of a real-time high-precision (e.g. order of micron) resolution, 3-D map of the evolving asteroid surface during the ablative propulsive-based redirection event. This would enable a maximally efficient and optimally directed redirection event under time constraint.

This method involves 3-D mapping of an object's surface from a source, such as spacecraft co-orbiting with the asteroid. No rigid connection is required between the spacecraft and the asteroid. A recently developed method of dual-frequency comb-calibrated metrology can be used at a distance.


  • Mapping objects in space
  • Redirecting objects in space


  • Real-time, high-precision 3D mapping from a distance
  • Enables propulsive redirection of objects in space


  • State of Development: Proof of concept
  • Licensing Status: Available for licensing
  • Patent Status: Patented