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Recent News

This page contains all recent ILRS news. For those interested in news specific to satellite missions, please visit our Mission News page.

Photo of Ron BeardPassing of Ron Beard/NRLRelease Date: 07/22/2020 We are sad to report the recent passing of Ron Beard. Ron Beard was the past Head of the Advanced Space PNT Branch (formerly the Space Applications Branch) at the Naval Research Laboratory (NRL) where he has made significant contributions to the generation and dissemination of precise time from space over the course of his 50-year career.

Mr. Beard joined the Navy and later NRL as the DoD was beginning to explore new concepts for a second-generation satellite-based navigation system. At NRL he worked for Roger Easton, who proposed "passive ranging" from satellites with synchronized clocks in what became the TIMATION project. There was very limited experience with precise clocks in the space environment during those early days.

From 1968-1971, he was the Project Officer for Navigation Satellites in the Naval Air Systems Command's Astronautics Division and was the TIMATION project officer. In 1971 he joined the NRL and their early GPS development (1971-1979) as the project scientist in the NRL's GPS Program Office that developed Navigation Technology Satellites One and Two and operated the first atomic clocks in space. From 1979- 1983, he was the Deputy Project Manager for the Naval Space Surveillance System Modernization Program. From 1983 until 2004 he was the Program Manager of the NRL NAVSTAR GPS Clock Development Program that developed alternative sources of space qualified atomic clocks and hydrogen masers for the GPS program. He was the originator and principal investigator for the Laser Retro-Reflector Experiment, included as secondary payload on NAVSTAR 35 and 36 satellites to investigate clock and orbit error separation. Mr. Beard was a longtime advocate for hosting retroreflectors on GPS III satellites, and has been a key member of the NRL-NGA-NASA GPS Laser Retroreflector Array team.

Mr. Beard has participated in numerous technical groups including the Air Force Scientific Advisory Board Study Group into Global Air Navigation, Navy representative on Project Reliance Frequency Control Panel, Head of the DoD PNT Focus Team for Space Technology, past chair of the ITU-R Special Rapporteur Group on the future of the UTC Time Scale, and served as International Chair of the ITU-R Working Party 7A, Precise Time and Frequency Broadcast Services. He has authored or coauthored over 50 papers, including a dozen papers presented at various ION meetings. He has been an organizer of the Annual PTTI conference and the Joint Navigation Conference, and has served as a Government Liaison to the ION's Military Division. He was selected as an ION Fellow in 2013.

Condolences may be shared with Ron's longtime colleague and friend, Dr. Ken Senior, at ken.senior@nrl.navy.mil

From: https://www.ion.org/awards/2013-ionfellow-beard.cfm and Linda Thomas/NRL

ILRS logoILRS workshops scheduled for 2020 and 2021 postponedRelease Date: 07/14/2020 As the ILRS community continues to deal with the impacts from the global coronavirus outbreak, the ILRS and the local organizers in Kunming have concluded that it is no longer possible to hold the 22nd International Workshop on Laser Ranging in October 2020 as planned. The ILRS Governing Board, in consultation with our colleagues in Kunming, has decided that we will delay this workshop until the fall of 2021; final dates for the event will be announced soon. Furthermore, the ILRS and UNSA will postpone the next ILRS Technical/Specialty Workshop, to be held in Arequipa Peru, until the fall of 2022.

We will keep the community informed of additional details as soon as practical.

ILRS logoChange to location of POS+EOP products in the CDDIS archiveRelease Date: 05/13/2020 The ILRS DCs have updated the archive location of the pos+eop products. Until today, the current year's products were archived in daily subdirectories at /slr/products/pos+eop/YYMMDD/. Beginning today, May 13, 2020, the products are now archived at /slr/products/pos+eop/YYYY/YYMMDD/.

ILRS logo2021 ILRS Technical/Specialty WorkshopRelease Date: 04/02/2020 The ILRS Governing Board is pleased to announce that the 2021 ILRS Technical/Specialty Workshop will be held in the October 2021 timeframe in Arequipa, Peru. The workshop will be hosted by the Astronomical and Aerospace Institute at the University of San Agustin.

At this time, the ILRS continues planning for the 22nd International Workshop on Laser Ranging in November 2020 with the local hosts in Kunming, China.

ILRS logoNew members of the ILRS Governing BoardRelease Date: 03/01/2020 Toshi Otsubo has announced that Jose Rodriguez (IGN Yebes) and Sven Bauer (GFZ Potsdam) have been elected by their EUROLAS colleagues as their representatives on the ILRS Governing Board. The change is effective 1 March 2020.

Toshi has sent his thanks to the former EUROLAS representatives Georg Kirchner and Pippo Bianco acknowledging that they worked not just for Europe on the Board but for the world-wide community for a long time. The ILRS hopes Georg and Pippo will stay actively involved in the ILRS.

ILRS logoNew Software for ILRS Gloal Report CardsRelease Date: 02/12/2020 The ILRS has been generating global report cards on a quarterly and monthly basis since 2012. A new version of the report card software is now available with changes that provide more accurate pass and NP counts, satellite RMS, and LAGEOS bias information. In addition, the table summarizing LLR data (Table 1 L) has been split into two parts (Table L1 and L2) to provide individual lunar retroreflector information. The report cards are available at: https://ilrs.cddis.eosdis.nasa.gov/network/system_performance/global_report_cards/monthly/.

For more information on the changes made to the report cards, please see: https://ilrs.eosdis.nasa.gov/network/system_performance/global_report_cards/report_card_differences_Jan01_2020.html.

Using the new software, data for the report cards between 2013 and 2020 has been regenerated and may be downloaded. The files are comma-delimited and available at https://ilrs.eosdis.nasa.gov/network/system_performance/global_report_cards/data_for_previous_report_cards.html.

ILRS logoNew ILRS Governing Board MemberRelease Date: 01/22/2020 As of January 01, 2020, Evan Hoffman/NASA GSFC has replaced Jan McGarry as one of the NASA Representatives on the ILRS Governing Board. The ILRS thanks Jan, an active and responsive member of the Board; we look forward to continued interactions with Jan and welcome Evan to the Board.

ILRS logoFirst announcement of the 22nd International Workshop on Laser RangingRelease Date: 01/08/2020 The 22nd International Workshop on Laser Ranging will be held in Kunming, China November 02 - 06, 2020. There will be five days of interesting presentations, a lot of time for formal and informal discussions, meeting project partners and paving the road for the future development of satellite laser ranging.

During the workshop there will also be a chance to visit the laser ranging station in Kunming. Theme and session topics for the workshop are currently under discussion. The organizers are open for ideas and suggestions, so please contact the local organizing committee at ilrs.workshop@ynao.ac.cn if you would like to see specific topics included in the workshop.

Additional announcements will be made when registration and abstract submission are opened.

The BLITS-M satelliteBLITS-M UpdateRelease Date: 01/02/2020 The BLITS-M satellite was launched on December 27, 2019. Mission contacts report that the spacecraft has not separated from the orbital insertion unit. Investigations are underway regarding this issue.



ILRS logoMissions Standing Committee UpdateRelease Date: 01/02/2020 Effective January 01, 2020, Rob Sherwood is serving as the co-chair of the Missions Standing Committee.

Welcome Rob!

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