Navigation Doppler Lidar was pioneered by NASA to ensure safe, precise landings on other planets. We’ve built on that heritage and are pioneering new applications both here on Earth—from battlefields to factories to highways—and in Space.

Psionic Technology

Psionic Navigation Doppler Lidar is built on technology NASA developed over the last two decades to create Navigation Doppler Lidar for landing on planetary bodies. Psionic has taken this further, improving the performance and reducing the size, weight, and power, and identifying dozens of proprietary new applications in Space, Defense and Consumer/Industrial markets.
The ability to precisely range, track and discriminate targets with precision and at near and medium range enables many more advanced applications that span from navigation without GPS to targeting, object detection, situational awareness and perception—applications for today’s world and tomorrow’s.

Psionic technology and application development

Langley researchers, from left, Mulugeta Petros, Upendra Singh and Tamer Refaat, inside the King Air B200 aircraft testing a new triple-pulse lidar that can simultaneously and independently measure carbon dioxide and water vapor, two powerful greenhouse gases. Credits: NASA/David C. Bowman, (
1960s – 1970s – 1980s – 1990s
NASA Langley experiments with lasers and lidar.

< NASA Langley Research Center testing a new triple-pulse lidar (NASA)

Building on decades of laser and lidar expertise at Langley Research Center, NASA develops 1st Generation Navigation Doppler LIDAR (NDL) System, proving concept in aircraft tests.

< Gen 1 NDL Proof of Concept Testing

NASA tests 2nd Generation Navigation Doppler LIDAR (NDL) System Lunar Landing Sensor Suite.

< Gen 2 NDL Sensor Suite Testing

NASA tests the 3rd Generation Navigation Doppler LIDAR (NDL) System on Project MORPHEUS, a project to develop a vertical takeoff and landing vehicle.

< NASA Project MORPHEUS Testing

Psionic is founded by former NASA senior executive Steve Sandford, Chief Technology Officer, and NASA senior engineer Diego Pierrottet, Chief Systems Engineer and licenses patents from NASA to develop commercial applications.
NASA’s Navigation Doppler LIDAR (NDL) System (3rd Generation) is tested on Masten Space Systems COBALT moon lander.

< NASA COBALT Test Flight

Operational range testing conducted at Langley Air Force Base. 
Low-power 1.5km distance test (30mW, 0.5″ optics).

< Gen 3 Range Tests

Psionic opens headquarters in Hampton, Virginia.
Psionic bench-tests 4th generation Navigation Doppler LIDAR System (NDL) with superior performance.
Successful test of Psionic Doppler Lidar for CUAS target discrimination at China Lake.

< Gen 4 Psionic NDL Bench Tests

Psionic Navigation Doppler Lidar to Fly on Masten Rocket in 2020 under NASA’s Flight Opportunities Program
Reductions in SWaP result in a device ~5″ on a side and weighing less than 7 lbs.
Successful short-range and intermediate-range tests of Psionic’s advance navigation technology.