UH Supports Nationʻs Top Space Surveillance Conference on Maui

*Video and sound available: http://bit.ly/1b70SKv (More information below)

University of Hawaiʻi
Kelli Abe Trifonovitch, (808) 228-8108
Director of Communications & Outreach, University of Hawaii Innovation Initiative
Posted: Sep 11, 2013

MAUI – The top scientific conference in the fields of space optics, imaging and surveillance is being held on Maui this week, with the participation and support of the University of Hawai‘i.  The 14th Advanced Maui Optical and Space Surveillance Technologies Conference or AMOS opened September 10, 2013 and runs through September 13, 2013.

The conference emphasizes Space Situational Awareness (SSA), referring to the ability to view, understand and predict the physical location of natural and manmade objects in orbit around the Earth.  It’s important to the growing number of military and commercial space assets to avoid collision with the potentially hazardous estimated 500,000 pieces of space junk in orbit.

AMOS is one of the many events, assets and companies that contribute to a burgeoning aerospace sector in Hawai‘i.A 2011 UH study (using 2007 data) estimates that the state’s aerospace sector was at $1.7 billion in 2012, with 30,000 employees. The study defines the aerospace sector as encompassing aviation, astronomy, robotics, certain national security activities, space related technologies and projects, higher education, and multiple other service industries.


According to the Institute for Astronomy, the University of Hawai‘i’s Haleakalā High Altitude Observatory Site is among the best astronomical sites in the world as far as the quality of seeing, infrastructure and accessibility.  UH currently operates the Mees Solar Observatory, the Pan-STARRS PS1 Survey Telescope and the TLRS4 Satellite Laser Ranging System there.  UH also leases observatory sites to several other entities, including the Air Force Research Laboratory’s Directed Energy Directorate (AFRL).  AFRL is the host of the Maui Space Surveillance Complex, where scientists utilize visible and infrared sensors, and adaptive optics to collect image and signature data on man-made, near-earth, and deep space objects. 


The observatories at the Haleakalā High Altitude Observatory Site employ 244 people and contribute approximately $55 million a year to the economy of Maui County.The capital cost of construction at the Haleakala observatory site already totals $304.7 million.


In addition, the $300-million Advanced Technology Solar Telescope (ATST) is scheduled to begin operations in 2019, with an $18 million annual operating cost and 35 employees.


Mauna Kea on the Big Island also hosts important UH scientific assets.  There are currently twelve telescope facilities in full operation on Mauna Kea.  UH scientists have access to a guaranteed fraction of the observing time on all of these telescopes.  This unique telescope access has allowed the University of Hawai‘i to build up its astronomy program into one that is internationally recognized.


The University of Hawai‘i also has vital responsibilities for the first space launch from the State of Hawai‘i, which is scheduled for 2014.  When the Super Strypi missile takes flight from the U.S. Navy’s Pacific Missile Range Facility on Kaua‘i, it will be carrying a satellite designed by University of Hawai‘i faculty and students.  The Air Force Space and Missile Systems Center’s Operationally Responsive Space Office has overarching responsibility for the mission and launch, of which UH is playing a significant role. UH is the contractor for the launch facility and three rocket motor stages (being designed and built by Aerojet).


About the University of Hawai‘i System


Established in 1907 and fully accredited by the Western Association of Schools and College, the University of Hawai‘i System includes 10 campuses and dozens of educational, training and research centers across the state. As the sole public system of higher education in Hawai‘i, UH offers an array of undergraduate, graduate, and professional degrees and community programs.  UH enrolls about 60,000 students from Hawai‘i, the U.S. mainland, and around the world.  For more information, visit www.hawaii.edu.


About the University of Hawai‘i Innovation Initiative (HI2)


The University of Hawai‘i is working in partnership with the community to build a $1-billion annual research enterprise in Hawai‘i, creating thousands of jobs and a thriving economy.  More information about the University of Hawai‘i Innovation Initiative is available online at http://hawaii.edu/innovation or contact Executive Director Peter Quigley quigleyp@hawaii.edu or Director of Communications and Outreach Kelli Abe Trifonovitch kellit2@hawaii.edu.






Link to download video and sound:  http://bit.ly/1b70SKv


B-ROLL 1 (52 seconds):

  • Wide shot AMOS Conference
  • Conference cutaway
  • Gen. William Shelton, Commander,  U.S. Air Force Space Command, via teleconference (2 shots)
  • Conference cutaway
  • AMOS Conference Exhibit Hall (7 shots)


B-ROLL 2 (48 seconds):

  • Science City, Haleakalā
  • Maui Space Surveillance Complex (2 shots)
  • Pan-STARRS 1 (day)
  • Pan-STARRS 1 (night)
  • U.S. Air Force’s Advanced Maui Optical System (AEOS) telescope




(16 seconds) Elliot Pulham, CEO, Space Foundation


“Space has become so very, very busy. It is full of debris. It's full of flying spacecraft. It is just a very treacherous environment to operate in and the capability for understanding that and managing that resides right here in Maui. So it's important for us to all get together and talk about that.”


(16 seconds) Mike Maberry, Assistant Director, University of Hawai‘i Institute for Astronomy


“So to be able to contribute to the world by providing these sites, sharing these sites, so we can monitor and catalog the objects we have in space as well as the heavens beyond is just extremely fortunate for the University of Hawai‘i and the state of Hawai‘i.”


(16 seconds) Elliot Pulham, CEO, Space Foundation


“The ability to bring high paying jobs that can stimulate the economy and reduce your reliance on tourism is something that space brings in spades.”


(15 seconds) Jeanne Unemori Skog, President and CEO, Maui Economic Development Board (MEDB)


“The aerospace community and sector in Hawai‘i is tremendously important. It is one of our competitive advantages and we've got to take advantage of every single one we can. Haleakalā and Mauna Kea are two of the five best viewing sites in the world.”