McDonald Laser Ranging Station

University of Texas McDonald Observatory

Near Ft. Davis, Texas


The McDonald Laser Ranging Station (MLRS) is a dedicated laser ranging station capable of measuring round trip light travel times to a constellation of artificial earth satellites and lunar retro-reflectors to a precision of about 1 centimeter and time of laser firing to about 35 picoseconds. Data from this station as well as 30-40 similar satellite-capable systems and one other regularly contributing lunar-capable system around the world are used for a variety of scientific pursuits including study of the earth's gravitational field, plate tectonics, earth's orientation in space, high precision time transfer, relativity, lunar and solar system dynamics, and providing high precision orbits for GPS and ocean top mapping missions.

MLRS History
Bigger view of the site
Another view of the site
Ranging the Moon
"Rainbow Ranging"
Site Map

Laser Ranging Data

Laser Data Ranging Format
Laser Ranging Data (all targets, all stations)

Related Web Sites

International Laser Ranging Service
McDonald Observatory and the Department of Astronomy


This project is funded by
NASA Goddard Space Flight Center
NASA Headquarters

For comments or further information e-mail

Last updated: 10/05/12.