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19th International Workshop on Laser Ranging

Celebrating 50 Years of SLR: Remembering the Past and Planning for the Future


The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), along with the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory (SAO), and the International Laser Ranging Service (ILRS), was pleased to host the 19th International Workshop on Laser Ranging in Annapolis Maryland during the week of October 27-31, 2014 at the Historic Inns of Annapolis. Sponsors for the Workshop were NASA, SAO, and the ILRS with help from several corporate supporters. Over 180 attendees (photo) participated in the workshop from 23 countries.

NASA Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC) had the unique opportunity to host this event at the birthplace of SLR: October 31, 2014 marked the 50th anniversary of the first successful SLR measurement, conducted at what is now the Goddard Geophysical and Astronomical Observatory (GGAO). The theme for this workshop, "Celebrating 50 Years of SLR: Remembering the Past and Planning for the Future" allowed attendees to look back on our many accomplishments and present plans for future advances in SLR technology and science.

On Monday, the history of SLR was given in a series of six invited talks by the pioneers in the field. The afternoon was devoted to invited science talks showing SLR's positive impact on various NASA and international missions.

In addition to the events in Annapolis, the participants were given a day-long tour of GSFC and GGAO, including tours of the Goddard Visitor's Center, Building 7 Integration and Testing facilities, Building 29 James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) integration and testing, and tours of the NASA next generation space geodesy systems at GGAO. A Goddard Joint Engineering and Scientific Colloquium on Wednesday featured a seminar by John Degnan, "A Celebration of Fifty Years of Satellite Laser Ranging." John's talk was introduced with a few words from GSFC Center Director, Chris Scolese.

A new format for a station operations session was introduced at this workshop where ILRS experts met in small groups of station engineers and operators to provide solutions to common station problems, information to maintain station stability, and guidelines for interacting with the analysts in determining station biases. These station clinics were well attended and received by workshop attendees.

A highlight of the Workshop was a speech and question and answer session at Thursday evening's banquet given by Dr. Piers Sellers, GSFC Deputy Director of the Sciences and Exploration Directorate and NASA astronaut.

The workshop program included 81 oral presentations and over 70 posters. The Program section of this website includes links to all abstracts, presentations, and posters; the full program handout is also available.

This workshop in Annapolis and GSFC proved to be a very successful gathering of international experts in the field of satellite laser ranging. We would like to acknowledge the work of the Program and Local Organizing Committees, recognizing all of the hard work that contributed to the success of the workshop. This workshop website ( will soon be updated with presentations, posters, summaries, and photos from the week.