This page no longer updated from 31 October 2001. Latest version can be found at LACE

Other Designations: Low-power Atmospheric Compensation Experiment. Class: Military. Type: SDI. Nation: United States. Agency: SDIO. Manufacturer: Naval Research Laboratory.

The Low-power Atmospheric Compensation Experiment was part of a dual payload with RME carrying laser defence experiments. LACE was built by the Naval Research Laboratory (NRL) to act as a target for ground lasers to investigate atmospheric distortion and compensation methods. The low-power lasers were beamed from the Air Force Maui Optical Station (AMOS) and received by on-board IR and phased detectors. A laser locked onto a reflector mounted on a 46 meter boom to acquire the satellite. The sensor array returned data on the laser coverage, allowing laser's adaptive optics to be adjusted, compensating for atmospheric distortion. The payload included ABE, the Army Background Experiment, an instrument which monitored background levels of neutron radiation in order to be able to discriminate between warheads and decoys. LACE also carried the Ultraviolet Plume Instrument (UPI) to track rocket plumes. Spacecraft: Gravity gradient stabilised with no attitude control thrusters. Payload: LACE carried visible, IR and phased laser sensors. They were on booms and panels extending from the 1.4 x 1.4 x 2.4 meter main body. In total, there were 210 laser sensors. The Ultraviolet Plume Instrument (UPI) used two CCD cameras.


Design Life: 2 years. Total Length: 2.4 m. Maximum Diameter: 1.4 m. Total Mass: 1,430 kg.

LACE Chronology

14 February 1990 LACE (USA 51) Launch Site: Cape Canaveral . Launch Vehicle: Delta 6925. Mass: 1,430 kg. Perigee: 463 km. Apogee: 480 km. Inclination: 43.1 deg.

Low-power Atmospheric Compensation Experiment for SDIO. Research and exploration of the upper atmosphere and outer space. The McDonnell Douglas Corporation has provided the following information for its launch of the Losat spacecraft on 14 Feb 1990: LACE spacecraft (Losat-L), launch time 1615:00.626 GMT, ETR L aunch Complex 17. Programmed orbital parameters 95.6 min, apogee 551 km, inc. 43.1 deg. Evaluate laser beam distortion in space.


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Last update 12 March 2001.
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© Mark Wade, 2001 .