• 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

IVS Holds Technical Operations Workshop at MIT Haystack Observatory
IVS logo. From April 30 through May 5, the IVS held the twelfth installment of its Technical Operations Workshop (TOW) at MIT Haystack Observatory in Westford, MA, USA. Some 60 participants from 15 countries attended this first in-person TOW after the coronavirus pandemic. The TOW provided hands-on training for the technical staff of the VLBI stations. Over the course of the week, the students attended about 30 different workshops, seminars, and lectures covering topics as diverse as VLBI basics, session pre-checks and operations, cryogenics, RFI, phase calibration, and backend operations, to name just a few. SGP personnel were strongly involved in the organization of the workshop as well as in the teaching of several of the classes. Dirk Behrend was responsible for the overall organization, including class program and assignments, and he led through the workshop. Heidi Johnson took care of the local organization. The following SGP staff members served as instructors: Mario Bérubé (VLBI Communications Center), Pedro Elosegui (VLBI Basics), Rick Hambly and Katie Pazamickas (Time and Frequency), Frank Lemoine (Science Overview), John Swoboda (RFI), Chet Ruszczyk (VGOS Signal Chain, Mark 6, R2DBE), Mike Poirier and Alex Burns (Session Pre-checks, Failure Recovery), Ganesh Rajagopalan (Phase Cal), and Jason SooHoo (Data Transport). More information can be found on the workshop website at https://www.haystack.mit.edu/tow2023/.

group photo of workshop attendees

Group photo of workshop attendees. (Credit: Dirk Behrend)

"Leaders in Lidar" Video Series
image of a laser beam. For those interested in the Legacy of Goddard's lead role in laser altimetry, you can view the recently released "Leaders in Lidar" Series (All Episodes – Youtube).
"In this series, we dive into the legacy of Goddard's lead role in developing laser altimetry, which has revolutionized the way we map our planet, the Moon and other planets. Each chapter looks at the successes and failures of these lidar instruments, beginning with the Mars Observer Laser Altimeter in the late 1980s, through the current generation of laser altimeters on ICESat-2 and GEDI. Through dozens of interviews and archival footage, the history, challenges and legacy of lidar are uncovered."

NASA Delivers First Flight Hardware to ESA for Lunar Pathfinder
retroreflector array to be installed in the Lunar Pathfinder satellite. NASA delivered the first flight hardware for the Lunar Pathfinder mission to ESA (European Space Agency), which formally accepted the instrument on Nov. 4. NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, developed the instrument, a laser retroreflector array, which will test new navigation techniques for lunar missions.

NASA and ESA plan to launch Lunar Pathfinder via a future Commercial Lunar Payload Services delivery. In addition to testing navigation capabilities, Lunar Pathfinder will operate as a commercial communications relay satellite and provide communications services for exploration missions on the lunar surface.

The Lunar Pathfinder mission is led by Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd (SSTL), and ESA arranged for the mission to provide communications services to NASA. NASA Space Geodesy Project Manager Stephen Merkowitz, along with teams from ESA and SSTL, completed inspections when the laser retroreflector array arrived at SSTL's facility in Guildford, U.K., where it will be installed in the satellite.

NASA's laser retroreflector array arriving for inspection and approval

NASA's laser retroreflector array arriving for inspection and approval (Credit: Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd.)

Read more on nasa.gov

GTA#1 in the SGSLR dome at GGAO Gimbal and Telescope Assembly (GTA) #1 installed in the SGSLR shelter in late June 2022
The Gimbal with Mass Simulator was removed from the GGAO SGSLR facility in June 2022 and shipped back to Cobham. After the Factory Acceptance Test at Cobham in Lansdale, the Gimbal and Telescope Assembly (GTA) #1 was shipped to GGAO and installed in the SGSLR shelter in late June 2022. Preparations for the Site Acceptance Testing (SAT) were begun shortly after installation.

GTA#1 in the SGSLR dome at GGAO

GTA#1 in the SGSLR dome at GGAO.

Ny-Ålesund SGSLR dome hydraulic pump successfully replaced
The Ny-Ålesund SGSLR dome hydraulic pump was successfully replaced in August 2022 by Baader Planetarium as warranty work. The original pump was replaced with one that has a larger motor and does not require a heating element. Continued testing post-installation indicates that this replacement pump is working well.

Read all news

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