LARES mission operations

Author/Creator ORCID





Citation of Original Publication

G. Sindoni and E. C. Pavlis, "LARES mission operations," 2015 IEEE Aerospace Conference, Big Sky, MT, 2015, pp. 1-10, doi: 10.1109/AERO.2015.7119149.


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LAser RElativity Satellite (LARES) is an Italian Space Agency mission that started operations on February 2012 after a successful launch on ESA's VEGA qualification flight. The satellite is covered with retroreflectors that allow accurate laser ranging tracking from the stations of the International Laser Ranging Service. Data of laser ranged satellites are publicly available for scientific analysis and in the case of LARES are being used mainly for testing general relativity and in particular the Lense-Thirring effect due to the rotation of Earth. Although designed for fundamental physics, the LARES mission is also very useful for geodesy and geodynamics and it will provide, among other things, improvement of the International Terrestrial Reference Frame. After a description of the scientific objectives and of the satellite, the paper will focus on the operations required to run the mission.