The ILRS had to postpone the 22nd International Workshop on Laser Ranging in Kunming, originally scheduled for 2-6 November 2020, to 2021 due to the coronavirus pandemic. We intended to plan something different from ordinary meetings and look in detail at a selection of SLR (Satellite Laser Ranging) stations in the global network. Five stations, Graz (Austria), Zimmerwald (Switzerland), Simosato (Japan), Greenbelt (USA) and Yarragadee (Australia), were chosen as the destinations of the virtual tour. During the week of 2-6 November 2020, a 2-hour slot was allocated per day and the participants could virtually visit the observatories and communicate with our colleagues at the station, as shown in the video capture image during the Graz tour. The participants were encouraged to join the Microsoft Teams as a group, and each session attracted 90-130 parties in spite of the large time differences; a part of the participants is shown in the group photo below. Each 2-hour tour contained one or more talks related to the station, pre-recorded videos of the SLR and other facilities, and question/discussion sessions. Thanks to a good amount of preparations and rehearsal sessions, all virtual tours went smoothly and the participants could see various aspects of these stations and learn from lively interactive sessions.

Georg Kirchner
virtual group photo

The videos and slides are available on the tour website thanks to NASA/CDDIS. We have received a number of very positive reactions from the participants and now intend to host the second round of this tour in 2021.

Toshimichi Otsubo

Hitotsubashi University

On behalf of the organizing team (T Otsubo, E Hoffmann, M Wilkinson, D Thaller, R Carman, C Noll and M Pearlman) and the host institutes.