The Goddard Geophysical and Astronomical Observatory (GGAO) is the home of pioneering research in many scientific areas. Scientific application of lasers, astronomy, and solar physics, are just a few examples.
The 210-acre facility is located four miles from the GSFC main site on Springfield Road. It is home to about a dozen people working on many NASA research projects. It was formerly called the Goddard Optical Research Facility (GORF) and was originally established to provide a low background (light) level for optical instrumentation development and observation. Due to its remote location from the main Goddard site, the activities performed there are not known by most people at GSFC.
The Solar System Exploration Division (Code 690) at NASA GSFC uses GGAO for Satellite Laser Ranging (SLR), Very Long Baseline Interferometry (VLBI), and global navigation satellite system (GNSS, including GPS, Global Positioning System and GLONASS, GLObal NAvigation Satellite System) activities. GGAO is one of the few locations in the world where four or more space geodesy techniques are co-located, thus providing scientists with a unique opportunity to assess system performance and perform multi-technique analysis. Other divisions in Code 600 also use the GGAO facility for various astronomy-related activities.
Space geodesy systems at GGAO.
Besides being a scientific research facility, GGAO's open fields and woodland make a peaceful habitat for deer, foxes, woodchuck, birds and many other species of wildlife.
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