Our Chief Scientist, Dr. John Degnan, was invited as the keynote speaker to the 18th International Workshop on Laser Ranging, held this year in Fujishiyoda, Japan. Experts in the field of Laser Ranging from around the world gather to share information and the newest advances at this conference every 2 years. Next year is special as it will mark 50 years of Satellite Laser Ranging (SLR). To celebrate this milestone, a second conference will be held right here at Goddard Space Flight Center in 2014. What makes this event even more extraordinary for us is that John worked as a junior member in the original GSFC team that first successfully demonstrated laser ranging to a satellite 50 years ago! The GSFC team recorded the first laser returns from the Beacon Explorer 22B satellite in 1964, when John was only 18 years old.
Dr. Degnan joined Sigma Space Corporation as Chief Scientist in February 2003 following his retirement from NASA GSFC, where he accumulated almost 40 years of technical experience and 25 years project management experience. At NASA, he led the development of advanced lasers and electro-optical systems. Here at Sigma, he is primarily working on 3D Imaging LiDAR, the NASA Next Generation Satellite Laser Ranging (NGSLR) System, and the ATLAS LiDAR Algorithms for the ICESat-2 mission. He has authored well over 200 publications and technical reports and is a recognized expert in laser theory and design. Moving forward, John’s goal is to take laser ranging and 3D imaging LiDARs to other planets and moons within the solar system!