• Laser ranging to the moon
    Laser Ranging to the Moon
    NGSLR, located at NASA GSFC's Goddard Geophysical and Astronomical
    Observatory (GGAO),is shown ranging to the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO)
    orbiting the Moon. The LRO Laser Ranging (LR) system enables the spacecraft
    to achieve its precision orbit determination requirement.
  • antenna
    VGOS, located at NASA GSFC's Goddard
    Geophysical and Astronomical Observatory
    (GGAO), is the next generation of
    geodetic VLBI systems currently
    under development.
  • Monument brace
    Drilled Brace Monument for GNSS Antenna
    The newly installed drilled brace monument for the
    Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) antenna at
    NASA GSFC's Goddard Geophysical and Astronomical
    Observatory (GGAO). The multi-GNSS-capable
    receiver will track signals from several GNSS including
    GPS, GLONASS, and Galileo.
    DORIS Antenna
    The Doppler Orbitography and Radio-positioning Integrated
    by Satellite (DORIS) antenna located at NASA GSFC's Goddard
    Geophysical and Astronomical Observatory (GGAO) tracks
    satellites equipped with DORIS beacons; NGSLR can be seen
    in the background.

Latest Project news

The 2019 ILRS Technical Workshop presentations and other information now available
2019 ILRS Technical Workshop bannerThe 2019 ILRS Technical Workshop was held October 21-24, 2019 in Stuttgart, Germany. In addition, the first "SLR School" was held prior to the workshop on October 20. All abstracts, presentations, posters, and summary information from the workshop and the SLR School are available on the website:


SLR Pioneer Certificates presented by Toshi Otsubo at the 2019 ILRS Technical Workshop
2019 ILRS Technical Workshop bannerDuring the 2019 ILRS Technical Workshop, Toshi Otsubo, chair of the ILRS Governing Board, presented the "SLR Pioneer Certificate" to the following recipients:

Victor Shargorodskiy (Research-and-Production Corporation «Precision Systems and Instruments«/ Moscow, Russia)
"In recognition of his role in the building and deploying of the ROSCOSMOS SLR network"

John McK. Luck (Geoscience Australia, retired/Canberra, Australia)
"In recognition of his work in establishing SLR activities in Australia and Western Pacific Laser Tracking Network">

Carey Noll (NASA GSFC/Greenbelt MD, USA)
"In recognition of her dedication, vision and creativity in supporting all aspects of the ILRS"

At the conclusion of the workshop, a "Recognition of Appreciation" certificate was presented to:

Daniel Hampf (DLR, Stuttgart, Germany)
"In recognition of the outstanding support provided in organizing and hosting the 2019 ILRS Technical Workshop, Stuttgart, Germany"

Congratulations to the recipients!

MGO SGSLR shelter goes up
Jason-2 satelliteThe MGO SGSLR shelter walls were installed on the SGSLR pad on October 15th. The first picture shows the first wall panel going into place. The dome ring wall was added after the building walls and roof were in place. Work continues on the framing, electrical, ducting and other parts of the interior.

View images of the new MGO SGSLR shelter...

The Jason-2 mission has ended
Jason-2 satelliteThe Jason-2/Ocean Surface Topography Mission (OSTM), the third in a U.S.-European series of satellite missions designed to measure sea surface height, successfully ended its science mission on Oct. 1. NASA and its mission partners made the decision to end the mission after detecting deterioration in the spacecraft's power system.

Read more about the Jason-2 mission...

NASA's Space Geodesy Project Mapping Out a Bright Future
Jason-2 satelliteThe Space Geodesy Project is featured in a new article published today on NASA's website. The article explains the role played by Very Long Baseline Interferometry (VLBI) in a variety of applications. SGP Manager, Stephen Merkowitz, explains the basic principle of VLBI, its most important function of building the International Terrestrial and Celestial Reference Frames, and the next generation of VLBI stations being installed in the US and around the world.

Read the full article on nasa.gov...

Passing of James Leroy Long (1955 - 2019)
photo of Jim LongThe Space Geodesy Project is mourning the loss of our dear friend and colleague James Leroy Long who passed away on September 21, 2019 from prostate cancer complications.

Jim was a leader and essential contributor to the nation's space geodesy programs over the past 40 years. Jim began his career in 1978 as a Commissioned Officer within the US Department of Commerce NOAA Corps. For two years, Jim was the Party Chief for the transportable 5-meter antenna system collecting Very Long Baseline Interferometry (VLBI) data in support of the NASA Crustal Dynamics Program and the NOAA National Crustal Motion Network. These measurements led to the first measurements of continental drift. Jim also spent several years on mobile field duty for the U.S. Coast & Geodetic Survey performing precise horizontal control surveys and special project surveys. He also spent 2.5 years on board a NOAA National Ocean Service hydrographic survey ship performing horizontal and vertical control surveys, collecting hydrographic survey data for updating navigational charts, and ship board operations.

Read more about Jim Long...

Dome Factory Acceptance Test (FAT) at MGO successfully completed
Laser ranging station at McDonald in TexasThe MGO dome successfully passed the Factory Acceptance Test (FAT) at Baader Planetarium in Mammendorf Germany on September 19, 2019. Scott Wetzel (KBR) and Julie Horvath (KBR) were in attendance. They approved the FAT and accepted the dome. Installation of the dome at MGO is expected to occur in January 2020.

Lightning strikes the McDonald Laser Ranging Station (MLRS) in Texas
Laser ranging station at McDonald in TexasLightning struck the McDonald Laser Ranging Station (MLRS) in Texas on September 12, 2019 rendering it inoperable. The SGP is currently building a next generation SGSLR station next to the MLRS, and has decided to not repair the 37-year-old MLRS. The MLRS first started operating in 1982 and quickly became a premiere satellite and lunar laser ranging station. Data from this station was used for the most stringent tests of General Relativity, studies of the interior structure of the moon, and countless other geodetic and spacecraft tracking applications. The SGP looks forward to continuing the legacy of laser ranging from the McDonald Observatory and entering a new chapter with the recently completed VGOS station located just down the hill from the MLRS.

Gimbal and Mass Simulator installed at GGAO
GGAO siteGimbal #1 and mass simulator (GMS) were crated and shipped from Cobham in Lansdale PA and delivered to GGAO early in the week of September 16th. The riser, which is needed to mate the pier with the gimbal, was also delivered to GGAO early that week.

The riser was lifted by crane into place through the dome slit in the SGSLR shelter early in the morning of the 19th and bolted to the pier.

Later that morning, once the riser installation was complete, the GMS was lifted by crane through the dome slit into place in the SGSLR dome area and attached to the top of the riser.

Read more about the installation on the SGSLR news page...

Read all news

Using Quasars to Measure the Earth: A Brief History of VLBI
Looking Down a Well: A Brief History of Geodesy