2023 AMOS Conference

By: Cindy Schumacher

Wildfires, a four-star general, and a sold-out conference headlined the 24th Advanced Maui Optical and Space Surveillance Technologies (AMOS) Conference held September 19-22 at the Wailea Beach Resort, Maui. Presented by Maui Economic Development Board (MEDB), the premier technical conference in the nation devoted to space domain awareness (SDA) hosted 1082 in-person attendees from 22 countries, with a further 269 participating virtually. This year’s conference began on a solemn note with a Hawaiian cultural blessing that acknowledged the devastation from the August 8 wildfires on Maui.

Our 24th year has brought new challenges, new opportunities, new faces, and many familiar ones that make up our ever-growing AMOS ‘ohana,” said Leslie Wilkins, President and CEO of MEDB, in her opening address. “We appreciate the support of those who showed up to support Maui and are grateful for the outpouring of Aloha.

General B. Chance Saltzman, Chief of Space Operations, United States Space Force, presented the opening keynote. He began by sharing a few results of the meeting he had the day before with the Maui Tech Hui that includes the 15th Space Surveillance Squadron (15SPSS), a number of industry partners, and commercial startups. These groups had deployed Starlink terminals to the isolated west side of the island in response to the wildfires. The terminals provided communication while internet and telephone service were unavailable. The portable power sources on the trucks also provided refrigerator and freezing capability.

The AMOS conference, a scientific community with global reach, featured a packed daily schedule of keynote speakers, policy forums for SSA and space domain awareness (SDA); technical sessions, exhibits, short courses and networking receptions. Both in-person and livestream attendees had access to a virtual platform to facilitate networking and collaboration before, during, and after the conference.

“This year the hybrid conference received over 350 abstracts from 22 countries with 195 papers selected for oral or poster presentation,” said Wilkins. “The number and content of the presented papers demonstrated the continued evolution and advancements in the field of SDA and was reflected in the session topics covered this year: Astrodynamics, Cislunar SDA, Conjunction/RPO, Machine Learning for SDA Applications, Satellite Characterization, SDA Systems & Instrumentation, Space-based Assets, Space Debris, SDA; and Atmospherics/Space Weather.”

For the sixth year, the Space Surveillance Technical Committee of the American Astronautical Society (AAS) and the AMOS Conference presented a Student Award for the best manuscript submitted and presented by a student. The winner received a stipend, as well as free registration for both the AMOS and EMER-GEN Conferences, the latter being held prior to AMOS in the same location.

The EMER-GEN program, a joint initiative of the AMOS Conference and the Space Generation Advisory Council (SGAC), is designed especially for young professionals and students (35 and under) enthusiastic about careers in space. The original 2+ day program has grown to include webinars before the main event with a focus on fostering innovation and entrepreneurship among the cohort. Throughout the entire program, participants were challenged to solve a problem to create new opportunities for space-based technologies.

“Our partnership with the SGAC provides an opportunity to extend the reach of the AMOS Conference and to contribute to the professional development of the upcoming space generation,” said Sandy Ryan, AMOS Conference Director. “With the help of advisers from industry, government, academia and NGOs, EMER-GEN offers mentoring from renowned space specialists from the public sector (military and civil), private sector, and NGOs; networking with other young professionals; technical short courses presented by specialists in SSA/SDA; and professional development sessions to enhance the participants’ effectiveness in a competitive global environment.



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 numerous ways. One of those ways is the technical award process. We have a rigorous and in-depth review that involves dozens of AAS members, 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, exhibiting SSA advances and challenges to a wider community. A mutual benefit.”


The AMOS Conference Student Award was established to recognize a student author who writes a novel AMOS Conference paper demonstrating superior technical excellence within the field of space surveillance. This award champions 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 Best Student Paper award is Charles Constant, University College London, for his paper, “Limitations of Current Practices in Uncooperative Space Surveillance: Analysis of Mega-Constellation Data Time-Series”.


In the context of Space Traffic Management (STM) and its crucial reliance on orbit prediction, this study evaluates current practices in uncooperative tracking for Low Earth Orbit (LEO) mega-constellation management. By assessing Two-Line-Element (TLE) data from cooperative and uncooperative tracking of a Starlink constellation subset, we observe a mean 52% increase in positional accuracy with cooperative tracking. We present a 400-day time-series analysis of TLE data for the Starlink and OneWeb constellations, uncovering significant positional discrepancies and variance between cooperative and uncooperative TLE sets. A Fourier analysis reveals systematic once-per-rev signals. Examining the TLE generation process, we discuss the influence of measurement quality, force modeling, latency, and location on these discrepancies and their implications for prediction error. We advocate for a universally accepted set of reference orbits across LEO to ensure robust SSA data source characterization amid increasing satellite launches. The presence of inconsistencies and spatio-temporal variations in the data highlight the need for enhanced transparency and a 3- to 5-fold improvement in TLE data accuracy. This research aims to bridge the gap between the required and supplied accuracy of positional data, and to refine STM strategies and fortify mega-constellation operations safety in LEO. The facilitating codebase is available in a GitHub repository, encouraging scrutiny and contributions towards improved space situational awareness.


This year’s Best Paper is “Adaptive Filtering for Multi-Sensor Maneuvering Cislunar Space Object Training” by John L. Iannamorelli and Keith A. LeGrand, both of Purdue University.


Successful space domain awareness (SDA) requires maintaining track custody of cooperative and noncooperative cislunar space objects (CSOs) through both ballistic and maneuvering trajectories. The surveillance of CSOs is particularly challenging due to the underlying chaotic multi-body dynamics, which makes future motion harder to predict compared to Keplerian orbits. While methods exist for tracking cooperative spacecraft using high-accuracy range measurements, the problem of passive noncooperative maneuvering CSO tracking has received considerably less attention. In this paper, CSO motion is modeled as a jump Markov system (JMS), where the CSO modality is unknown and subject to random switching. A novel adaptive Bayesian filter is proposed and shown to successfully maintain CSO track custody through both ballistic and maneuvering phases of an Artemis I-like trajectory.



The 25th AMOS Conference will be held on September 17-20, 2024 at the Wailea Beach Resort – Marriott, on Maui.


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.