Robert D. Richards, Optech Space Division's director, has received a honorary doctorate (Doctor of Space Achievement honoris causa) from the International Space University which he co-founded with Peter Diamandis and Todd Hawley in 1987.
The company is described as a world leader in laser-based survey instruments and has 33 years of experience in lidars.
The company designed the lidar (laser radar) of the Meteorological Station Lidar Sensor (MET) on the Phoenix spacecraft. The lidar will make measurements on the pressure and temperature of the atmosphere, the location and abundance of clouds on Mars, and the distribution of scatterers such as dust and fog in the lower Martian atmosphere. The lidar was built in collaboration with MDA Space Missions, Canadian Space Agency, and scientists from Canada and United States.
Dr Carswell was also the originating Canadian Principal Investigator for the Phoenix mission.