By: Cindy Schumacher

The 23rd annual Advanced Maui Optical and Space Surveillance Technologies (AMOS) Conference, presented on 27-30 September 2022 by Maui Economic Development Board (MEDB), fostered international collaboration on a variety of space issues. The three-day conference, devoted to Space Situational Awareness (SSA), Space Domain Awareness (SDA), and Space Traffic Management (STM), offered a cross-section of the private sector, government, and academic participation from 23 different countries. The AAS Space Surveillance Technical Committee recognizes the Best Paper and the Best Student Paper at the AMOS Conference.

“We thank the AAS Space Surveillance Technical Committee for their continued collaboration on the AMOS Conference Best Paper and Best Student Paper Awards,” said Leslie Wilkins, President, and CEOof MEDB. “Also, in collaboration with AAS, select papers presented at this year’s conference will be peer-reviewed and published in a special issue of the Journal of Astronautical Sciences. The partnership between the AMOS Conference and AAS greatly improves the caliber of research we receive. The 260 abstracts submitted to the AMOS Conference this year were record-breaking. We are grateful to AAS and the Committee for acknowledging the technical merits and state-of-the-art contributions of the AMOS community.”

Paul Kervin, AMOS Conference Technical Chair, said, “We have been working closely with AAS for several years. The collaboration has added to the quality of the AMOS Conference in several ways. One of those ways is the technical award process. We have a rigorous and in-depth review that involves dozens of AAS members, and experts in government, academia, and industry, in both the evaluation and the determination of the Best Paper and Best Student Paper Awards. In addition, the AAS provides an opportunity for the best AMOS papers to appear in a well-respected journal, exposing SSA advances and challenges to a wider community. A mutual benefit.”

Julia Briden (left), received AAS Best Paper Award, and Michael Klonowski received AAS Best Student Paper Award at the 2022 AMOS Conference on Maui.



The AAS Best Paper Award at AMOS was presented to Julia Briden, a Ph.D. student in Aeronautics and Astronautics, and Graduate Researcher at the Astrodynamics, Space Robotics, and Controls Laboratory (ARCLab), Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Her co-authors are Nicolette Clark, Peng Mun Siew, and Richard Linares, all of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology; and Tzu-Wei Fang of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

The paper focuses on modeling atmospheric drag to predict satellite re-entry. It compares theoretical atmospheric density models with predicted re-entry times based on published Two-Line Element sets for several missions. By analyzing the robustness of these models to space weather data perturbations, the authors have enabled the generation of space-weather-informed re-entry predictions. Given the exponential increase in the LEO satellite population due to mega-constellation deployments, and recently adopted U.S. rules regarding satellite disposal, this novel work contributes to understanding a critically important problem within the field of SSA.


The AMOS Conference Student award was established to recognize a student author who writes a novel AMOS Conference paper demonstrating technical excellence within the field of space surveillance. This award encourages students to enter the SSA field and recognizes their outstanding work in one of the most technically challenging areas of research and development.

The winner of this year’s Student Award is Michael Klonowski, who also happened to be a member of the 2022 EMER-GEN cohort. He is a Graduate Research Assistant in the Vision, Autonomy, and Decisions Research (VADeR) Laboratory at the University of Colorado at Boulder, pursuing a Ph.D. degree in Aerospace Engineering with a focus on Astrodynamics and Satellite Navigation Systems. His co-authors are Marcus J. Holzinger, the University of Colorado at Boulder, and Naomi Owens Fahrner, Ball Aerospace.

The paper proposes the use of advanced optimization techniques to design space missions, including possibly the infrastructure for those missions, to be flown throughout the Earth-Moon system. Given the expected launches of a variety of manned and unmanned missions to the Moon in the next few years, and with the permanent increase in our ability to launch such missions, finding ways to solve these extremely difficult “space architecture” design problems routinely is becoming a more urgent task.


Cindy Schumacher is a journalist from Maui, Hawaii. She currently writes the Focus Maui Nui articles in the Maui News for Maui Economic Development Board and is a contributing writer for the Lahaina News. She has written numerous articles on topics related to astronautics and space science for AAS Space Times and has covered national and international conferences, including the annual AMOS Conference.