laser ranging system
In high-accuracy satellite laser ranging (SLR), the measurement result must be referred to the satellite centre of mass (CoM), while the actual distance is measured to the center of reflection of a retroreflecor array installed on the satellite. The distance determination between the CoM and the reflection centre (CoM correction) should be made with a highest possible accuracy.
The author demonstrates that for an adequate representation of the pulse response function and hence for an adequate CoM correction, the best choice is to use a single-photon mode of photodetector operation. A presented example of CoM correction calculation for the LAGEOS satellite shows that submillimeter accuracy of the CoM correction may be achieved.