Amateurs to provide observations to USAF?

Ron Lee (ronlee@pcisys.net)
Wed, 14 Apr 1999 20:04:23 -0600

this from two newsgroups

ron lee

Greetings,

I would like to pose a query...  If the infrastructure existed to allow
amateur
astronomers to recieve satellite tracking "assignments" from the U.S. Air
Force
Space Surveillance Network, would you be willing to participate?

Let me explain...  My astronomy club, the Colorado Springs Astronomical
Society, recently had a speaker from the Air Force SSN pay us a visit. One
issue that was discussed was wether or not amateur astronomers could (and
would) make satellite observations, and submit data collected to the a TBD Air
Force web site.  The intent is that amateurs could take some of the load off
the Air Force tracking stations, allowing them to concentrate on high priority
targets while we amateurs handle some of the low priority targets.  

It's clear that amateurs could collect not only low accuracy binocular-based
obs, but also higher quality CCD images where astrometry could be used to very
accurately determine a satellite's position.  The big question is how many
people might participate.  So - if such a system existed, would you
participate?

If you would like to get involved in this "pilot program", please send me an
email (directly to me, not just a response to the list) at bygrens@aol.com 
Please note that this is not hypothetical - the USAF is seriously looking into
this type of program!

Steve Bygren
bygrens@aol.com