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