DARPA Calls on Amateur Astronomers to Find Space Debris

DARPA hopes amateur astronomers can help fill in gaps in its Space Surveillance Network (Credits: DARPA).

On November 9, the US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) announced the SpaceView program. Part of the OrbitalOutlook program that aims to improve the Space Surveillance Network, SpaceView calls on volunteer astronomers to use state-of-the-art observational equipment to track known and find unknown debris objects. DARPA pledges to provide such volunteers with telescope time at premier observatories or to upgrade or provide equipment to them directly.

There is an untold amount of potential in the amateur astronomy community that we hope to use to broaden our situational awareness in space,” said program manager Lt Col Travis Blake. “SpaceView should provide more diverse data from different geographic locations to ensure we have a robust understanding of the current and future state of our space assets.”

Below, DARPA’s launch video explains the program and why it is needed. To participate in SpaceView sign up at www.spaceviewnetwork.com.

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Merryl Azriel

Merryl Azriel

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Having wandered into professional writing and editing after a decade in engineering, science, and management, Merryl now enjoys reintegrating the dichotomy by bringing space technology and policy within reach of an interested public. After three years as Space Safety Magazine’s Managing Editor, Merryl semi-retired to Visiting Contributor and manager of the campaign to bring the International Space Station collaboration to the attention of the Nobel Peace Prize committee. She keeps her pencil sharp as Proposal Manager for U.S. government contractor CSRA.

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