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High-Precision Lunar Ranging and Gravitational Parameter Estimation With the Apache Point Observatory Lunar Laser- ranging Operation


This dissertation is concerned with several problems of instrumentation and data analysis encountered by the Apache Point Observatory Lunar Laser-ranging Operation. Chapter 2 considers crosstalk between elements of a single -photon avalanche photodiode detector. Experimental and analytic methods were developed to determine crosstalk rates, and empirical findings are presented. Chapter 3 details electronics developments that have improved the quality of data collected by detectors of the same type. Chapter 4 explores the challenges of estimating gravitational parameters on the basis of ranging data collected by this and other experiments and presents resampling techniques for the derivation of standard errors for estimates of such parameters determined by the Planetary Ephemeris Program (PEP), a solar-system model and data-fitting code. Possible directions for future work are discussed in Chapter 5. A manual of instructions for working with PEP is presented as an appendix

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