Project News

  • Observatory at HaleakalaTLRS-4 at Haleakala without power

    A winter storm damaged commercial power transmission lines to the observatories on Haleakala, Hawaii, USA. Since February 10, TLRS-4 has been without power.

    The local electric power company estimates repair to take a minimum of 4 weeks and as long as 8 weeks. The team is exploring ways to power the site with a backup generator or by connecting to a nearby observatory that has backup power.

  • ILRS logoPlanning for the 2019 ILRS Technical Workshop has begun

    Planning for the 2019 ILRS Technical Workshop has begun! We ask that you mark your calendars and reserve the date for the next gathering of the ILRS community:

    Dates: October 21-25, 2019
    Location: Stuttgart, Germany

    The workshop will be sponsored by the DLR in Stuttgart, Germany. The program committee is actively working on the defining the theme and session topics for the workshop while the local organizers are planning the workshop logistics.

    The first circular for the workshop will be issued in the very near future.

    We hope you will consider attending the workshop!

  • Laser beam pointing at moonLunar Laser Ranging featured on the "Today" show

    NBC Sunday Today recently reported on lunar laser ranging activities at the APOLLO system in Sunspot NM.

  • Richard BiancaleThe Passing of Richard Biancale

    It is with profound sadness that we must announce to you the passing our colleague, Dr. Richard Biancale, geodesist, recently retired from the CNES in September 2018, and most recently working at the GFZ (Oberpfaffenhofen) with Dr. Frank Flechtner on GRACE Follow-On. We were informed of his death on Monday February 4, 2019 from a heart attack while skiing in the Alps.

    Richard had a long and distinguished career in Space Geodesy. He received his Ph.D. in 1978 from the University Pierre and Marie Curie in Paris (France) while working under Professor Cristoph Reigber at the Technical University of Munich (Germany). He worked as a research scientist at the University of São Paulo, at the DGFI (Deutsches Geodãtisches Forschungsinstitut) in Munich (Germany), and at CERGA (Centre d'Etudes et de Recherches en Géodynamique et Astronométrie) Grasse (France), before joining the French Space Agency, the CNES (Toulouse, France) in 1982 as a scientific engineer.

    Under the direction of Michel Lefebvre, one of his first jobs at the CNES was to define the DORIS tracking system for the TOPEX/Poseidon mission. Since 1984, he was very involved in the French-German cooperation on gravity field modeling, first with the GRIM models, and then with the EIGEN models after the launches of CHAMP and GRACE. He served as the scientific manager of the Stella laser geodetic satellite, launched in 1993. Under the direction of Dr. Georges Balmino, he became chief of the "Terrestrial and Planetary Geodetic Department" of the CNES in 1992. He received his "Habilitation" in 2006 and, starting in 2008, served as Executive Director of the Groupe de Recherche de Géodésie Spatiale (GRGS), a French national group that gathers 120 researchers from organizations involved in Space Geodesy studies.

    Over the course of his career he has supervised and inspired more than a dozen Ph.D students and served as a mentor to many colleagues and young scientists. Understanding the importance of training the next generation of scientists in satellite geodesy, he has taught geodesy for over 25 years at engineer schools (e.g. ENSG [École de la Géomatique/National School of Geographic Sciences], ENSTA [École Nationale Supérieure de Techniques Avancées]), at universities (e.g. Paris VI), and short training courses (e.g. GRGS Summer School).

    Throughout his career he has worked assiduously to improve the quality of geodetic data, and to advance the science obtained from these data. He was a strong proponent of the need for improving the International Terrestrial Reference Frame (ITRF), supporting the contributions to the IDS, IGS, ILRS, IVS and IERS. He has participated and led national and international proposals for new innovative space missions that would continue to advance the contribution of geodesy to science and society. Most recently, before and after his retirement from CNES, he worked to advance the proposal for the Tahiti Geodetic Observatory, a fundamental station including VLBI, SLR, GNSS and DORIS whose geographic location would be of prime importance to the ITRF and to the mm-level goals of the Global Geodetic Observing System (GGOS) in the next decade.

    As many of his colleagues noticed, Richard Biancale had a joie de vivre. He was a charming, free, passionate and cheerful man who embraced life whether it was in a fine restaurant after a scientific meeting, sailing around the Mediterranean or across the Atlantic on his catamaran, "RaphyO2", or visiting interesting cultural or natural locales. As his colleagues, we were all privileged to enjoy his friendship. We lament this tragic loss.

    To his family, including wife, Irmtraud, and four children, Raphaël, Philipp, Johannes & Jocelyne, we extend our deepest sympathy and most heartfelt condolences.

    Frank Lemoine
    (NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Maryland, U.S.A)
    Laurent Soudarin
    (Collecte Localisation Satellites, Ramonvile-Saint Agne, FRANCE)
    Jean-Michel Lemoine & Pascale Ferrage
    (Centre Nationale d' Études Spatiales, Toulouse, FRANCE)
    Jean-Paul Boy
    (EOST, University of Strasbourg, Strasbourg, FRANCE)

  • IWLR 2018 logoProceedings website for the 21st International Workshop on Laser Ranging now available

    The proceedings website for the 21st International Workshop on Laser Ranging, held November 05-09 in Canberra Australia is now available with links to presentations, posters, and papers. Summary information is also available at the website.

  • SGP logoThe Space Geodesy Project awards contract to KBRwyle Technology Solutions, LLC

    The Space Geodesy Project awarded a contract to KBRwyle Technology Solutions, LLC in Columbia, Maryland, for the construction, deployment and commissioning of the agency’s next-generation Space Geodesy Satellite Laser Ranging (SGSLR) stations.

  • CDDIS logoNASA Earth Science Data and Services Survey for 2018

    Recently, some of you may have received an email from the CFI Group on behalf of NASA. This message asked you to complete a survey for users of NASA Earth science data and services, which includes the Crustal Dynamics Data Information System (CDDIS). The CDDIS is one of twelve NASA Earth Observing System Data and Information System (EOSDIS) science data centers evaluated by this survey. The purpose of this survey is to help NASA and the DAACs assess customer satisfaction and improve future services. Suggestions from past surveys have been implemented to improve the tools and services offered by the CDDIS.

    Please participate! Your feedback affects our future performance and helps to identify science needs. You will be able to take the survey for each DAAC you use. This is your opportunity to influence the priorities of the DAACs, including CDDIS.

    If you did not receive a survey and wish to complete one or know of someone who uses CDDIS and/or EOSDIS data and services who did not receive a survey, please contact

    The American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI) is the only national cross-industry measure of customer satisfaction in the United States. NASA commissioned the CFI Group, an independent research and consulting organization, to conduct a brief survey to rate the products and services NASA currently provides from NASA's EOSDIS data centers. Please consider responding to this survey; your input will help us to better serve our user community.

    Presentations of these results given to NASA Earth science are available at:

    Thank you in advance to all of you who are willing to spend a few minutes to complete the survey.

  • ILRW 21 LogoSecond Circular for the 21st International Workshop on Laser Ranging Released

    The Space Environment Research Centre (SERC) and the International Laser Ranging Service (ILRS) are actively organizing the 21st International Workshop on Laser Ranging in Canberra, Australia during the week of November 05-09, 2018. The second circular has been released. Registration is now open and attendees are encouraged to submit an abstract for oral and poster sessions.

  • Radome at MIT HaystackCelebrating 50 years of transatlantic geodetic radio science

    Fifty years ago this week, in April 1968, an historic event took place involving MIT Haystack Observatory radio telescope in Westford, Massachusetts, and its counterpart at Onsala Space Observatory in Onsala, Sweden: the first transatlantic geodetic very long baseline interferometry (VLBI) observations.

    This occasion marks an important anniversary in geodesy; although the April observations were not entirely successful in terms of usable data, as VLBI was in its very earliest days, it was the first time that geodetic VLBI was performed across the Atlantic.

    Today, NASA's Space Geodesy Project (SGP) operates a worldwide system of modern geodetic sites, including the broadband VGOS (VLBI Global Observing System) network, in collaboration with international partners around the globe.

    Read more

  • NASA logoNew NASA VLBI Civil Servant position open for applications

    A new NASA VLBI Civil Servant position is now posted and open for applications. There are two postings, one senior and one mid-level, and applicants should decide which one best fits his/her experience level:



    The postings currently close on Tuesday, March 27, 2018. Please note that the job is only open to U.S. citizens and U.S. nationals.

  • MIT Haystack Observatory logoNew MIT Haystack Observatory blog for NASA/SGP-related activities

    The MIT Haystack staff have started a blog which visually documents some of the NASA/SGP-related activities including KPGO, GGAO, Westford, and the MGO development.

  • UNAVCO logoUNAVCO News: The NASA Space Geodesy Project -- An Update

    NASA’s Space Geodesy Project (SGP) was initiated in order to develop and maintain a global network of next-generation space geodetic observing instruments. Core sites around the globe will use three or four of the primary space-geodetic techniques: Very Long Baseline Interferometry (VLBI), Satellite Laser Ranging (SLR), Doppler Orbitography by Radiopositioning Integrated on Satellite (DORIS), and the Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS). Deployments of these instruments with next-generation measurement capabilities have been underway since 2011.

    Read more

  • Dr. Kristine Larson stands next to aGPS receiver in Boulder, Colorado, USAEarthdata User Profile: Dr. Kristine Larson

    EOSDIS/Earthdata recently profiled a user of CDDIS data. Dr. Kristine M. Larson explores how a technology such as GPS can be used for applications beyond its original intent.

    Read more

  • CDDIS logoEOSDIS awarded the 2015 Pecora award

    EOSDIS was awarded the 2015 Pecora award. This prestigious award is given to groups that make outstanding contributions toward understanding the Earth by means of remote sensing. The citation highlights the EOSDIS accomplishments in providing an open archive system for a global user community. CDDIS is one of twelve DAACs supporting EOSDIS efforts through the Earth Science Data and Information System (ESDIS) project. Carey Noll, CDDIS Manager, accepted their award certificate from Andy Mitchell, ESDIS Project Manager, and Jeanne Behnke, Deputy Project Manager/Operations, at the 2018 DAAC Managers Meeting.

  • ILRW LogoFirst Circular for the 21st International Workshop on Laser Ranging Released

    The Space Environment Research Centre (SERC) and the International Laser Ranging Service (ILRS) are pleased to announce that the 21st International Workshop on Laser Ranging will be held in Canberra, Australia during the week of November 04-09, 2018 at the John Curtin School of Medical Research (Australian National University) and Mount Stromlo. The first circular has been released.