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EUROLAS Terms of Reference

EUROLAS Consortium

October 7, 1989

Terms of Reference


Over the past several years a great improvement has been achieved in the international satellite laser ranging (SLR) network and particularly in the European part. An efficient cooperation has been established in the framework of several international programs such as the NASA Crustal Dynamics Project, the WEGENER/MEDLAS project, the International Earth Rotation Service (IERS), etc. The accuracy of the SLR technique has been significantly improved to a few centimeters and for some stations to or below one centimeter. This success has encouraged many agencies and scientists to propose and to develop new programs based on the laser ranging technique.

Advances in the SLR technology require significant research and development investments whereas the requests for tracking support of space missions in the next decade will dramatically increase. While 6 or 7 satellites can be tracked at present (Lageos 1, Starlette, Ajisai, Etalon 1 and 2, Meteosat P2, Geo-IK), opportunities for more than 10 additional satellites will or may arise in the coming decade (Glonass 1,2,3 (USSR), Meteor 3 (USSR), Spinsat (USA), ERS-1 (ESA), Lageos 2 (Italy/USA), Stella (France), Topex/Poseidon (France/USA), Lageos 3 (Italy/USA), ACRE (USA), Aristoteles (ESA), EOSA (USA), EEP (ESA)). Clearly a stronger coordination has to be established and priorities will have to be defined in the near future. This is true for every group and particularly in Europe where important programs are scheduled and a considerable amount of expertise and capability has been developed.


In view of the dynamic situation described in the introduction, a European consortium EUROLAS has been established, joining forces among the various European groups which are actively involved in the SLR technique. In general terms EUROLAS on the one hand can make representations to international organizations and international projects on behalf of the European SLR groups, and on the other hand coordinates activities among the member organizations with respect to scientific programs, operations and technology development.

EUROLAS therefore has specifically adopted the following objectives:

  1. Promote cooperation among the members
  2. Provide representative support to European SLR groups with respect to other agencies and scientific program offices (NASA, CSTG, ESA, Interkosmos, etc.)
  3. Coordinate and promote European participation in international SLR-related programs (discuss scientific objectives and priorities, respond to tracking requests, etc.)
  4. Coordinate definition of priorities and scheduling of European SLR operations (commitments by station, national priorities and capabilities, etc.)
  5. Promote standardization of operational procedures and as required provide for the acquisition of operational capabilities of its own (predictions, data formats, data flow, calibrations, communications, etc.)
  6. Promote task sharing between member groups (sharing of software development, sharing of information on technical innovations in hardware and software, processing of data, etc.)
  7. Explore funding opportunities at the European and international level.


EUROLAS will seek accomplishment of its objectives through the following organization:

  1. Membership of EUROLAS is open to any organization in Europe operating satellite laser ranging equipment
  2. Each member organization will appoint one person as representative for EUROLAS
  3. An EUROLAS Board is created, consisting of the representatives of all member organizations
  4. The EUROLAS Board elects an Executive consisting of at least a chairperson and a secretary
  5. The Executive is elected for a two-year term from the member organizations
  6. The EUROLAS Board may invite organizations in Europe to participate as full or associate members in so far as these organizations make an essential contribution to the objectives of EUROLAS
  7. Each associate member organization will appoint one person as representative for EUROLAS
  8. The representatives will meet at least once a year
  9. The EUROLAS Board will ensure that the objectives of EUROLAS are actively pursued.

The Terms of Reference together with the letters of ratification from the individual member organizations will constitute a document of understanding underlying the EUROLAS consortium organization.

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