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The presentation „Photon counting detector package optimized for space debris optical tracking“ was announced as an Outstanding Student Presentation at the SPIE Optics + Optoelectronics 2019 international conference. Roberta Bimbová, first year master student at the Engineering Faculty of the Czech Technical University in Prague, Department of Physical Electronics also received annual membership in SPIE Student Membership or download up to 25 articles from SPIE Digital Library. The presentation was based on an article prepared by Robert together with prof. Ivan Procházka, Josef Blažej and Jan Kodet. The article was subsequently published in SPIE Proceedings.

According to NASA, there are more than half a million different sized pieces of so-called cosmic waste that come from man-made facilities. These are dysfunctional satellites, burn out stages of launchers, remains of experiments and more. Even small particles of cosmic debris can damage or destroy other devices in orbit as they move at almost 28,000 km / h. Therefore, there are efforts to monitor this waste and possibly clear it out.

This can be aided by equipment developed on Department of Physical Electronics designed as part of optical telescopes on the Earth's surface. While larger objects in the universe can be detected by radars, smaller objects are invisible to such detectors due to their wavelength limitations. Therefore, only optical detection remains. The developed detector operates in two different modes. The continuous mode uses a passive tracking approach when detecting sunlit objects in the dark. In the gated mode, it uses an active tracking approach - a well-known principle of laser distance measurement. The control unit and detector source make it easy to change modes, making it easy to install and operate the detector on a telescope.