Until she was asked to spell LiDAR, Laura Newcombe had no idea what it was, but she’s learning a lot about it now.

“I just thought of radar, because it’s like a radar that uses light,” she said. “LiDAR are pretty interesting.”

After she won, Iain Christie, president of Neptec Design Group, an Ottawa-based company specializing in LiDAR technology, invited her to visit their offices on Legget Drive. LiDAR is used to create three dimensional models of objects.

Neptec’s TriDAR, which partners a triangulation sensor with LiDAR, was used for the first time during a Discovery shuttle mission to the International Space Station last August.

The technology was used during rendezvous and docking with the International Space Station to give astronauts aboard the Discovery shuttle extra guidance information.

Shuttle pilot Kevin Ford also spoke about his mission yesterday.

“There’s a lot of stuff that goes on a mission that people don’t know about because it’s things like station construction, but it’s a big deal when someone has something in the payload bay,” said Ford.

“It was a big deal for us, that’s for sure,” said Christie. “You can do as much work as you can on the ground, but you never know if it’s going to work until you get up there.”