Re: [dsat] NASA/OIG to be replaced by USAF

From: Björn Gimle (
Date: Sat Dec 20 2003 - 13:24:49 EST

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    ----- Original Message ----- 
    From: "Ted Molczan"
    I see a need for a similar program for planning observation sessions.
    would highly automate the process of target selection and the generation of
    finder charts.
        [I bought LXD-55 with Autostar thinking that it could automate this and
    remove the need for finder charts. But selection is still manual, and its
    predictions are often several degrees off-track, and it sometimes stops
    tracking even before culmination]
    It would support the use of priority lists.
    [For elset file updating, the main priority should be expected uncertainty
    (or maneouvres) so that not all objects need the same observation and OD
    It would handle mundane tasks like working around local obstacles.
    Imagine always intercepting satellites when they pass good reference stars.
        [I have lost more satellites with LXD 55 than with binoculars because of
    preparation time and obstacles]
    Imagine knowing in advance the number and quality of reference stars that a
    satellite is likely to pass. Could be used to choose among multiple
    targets of similar priority.
        [And where the satellite is expected to be brightest.
         Also taking sky brigtness/optics in consideration]
    Clearly, we need self-calibrating timepieces that directly log UTC when we
    hit a
    button, and which will dump their data to a PC, to be read by programs like
    ObsReduce. Think of the time saved, and the errors avoided.
        [I think stopwatch makers are too unimaginative. Get rid of Start/Stop
    buttons, record times, (allow any time to be used as 'start' if so desired),
    dump the data to PC, and have a program that evaluates calibration clicks,
    clock drift and computes UTC]
    Through the use of better gravitational, drag and SRP models, we could get
    more out of our limited number of observations, and decrease their required
    frequency. Keep in mind that we have a vast quantity of historical data,
    both our
    observations and official 2-line elements, which we can use to develop and
    verify our new models.
    We also need more automated orbit determination software.
        [Agree on both]
    Greg, you have led the way on the hardware front, with your computer-aimed
    system, and Peter and Rainer are getting great results with still cameras.
    is another area of huge potential. It would be great if affordable systems
    be built for use by non-hardware experts.
        [I bought an Autostar scope because I couldn't build a mount like
    Greg's, with a large tube because I didn't believe I could assemble/afford a
    video system sensitive enough]
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