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Integrated Program / Observational Stratgies/ Strategy 6: Space Geodetic Networks & Int'l Terrestrial Reference Frame  






Satellite Laser RangingIn cooperation with many international partners, NASA's Solid Earth Science Program plays a key role in establishing, maintaining, and operating global geodetic networks. Currently the networks include SLR, VLBI, and the GPS ground system. Relevant data products and valuable services are provided to the worldwide research community through the International Laser Ranging Service, the International VLBI Service, and the International GPS Service, respectively. Precise 3-D crustal motions are determined by all three networks, with dense GPS arrays particularly useful for regional tectonic and earthquake cycle studies.

Beyond their scientific value, these data, together with precise determination of the 3-D geocenter motion by SLR and GPS, constitute the geodetic elements that define the International Terrestrial Reference Frame (ITRF), which is the basis for all geodetic measurements described in this report. The ITRF is geometrically connected to the Celestial Reference Frame via Earth Orientation Parameter (EOP) time series, which are determined primarily by the VLBI technique and contain a wealth of geophysical and climatic information. The ITRF and EOP, and hence the networks, should continue to be maintained and improved and their data routinely acquired at the best possible accuracy and temporal resolution.


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