Air Force Maui Optical and Supercomputing observatory

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Minor planets discovered: 67 [1]
see § List of discovered minor planets
The Air Force Maui Optical and Supercomputing site at Haleakala Observatory in Hawaii. Facilities shown include the Advanced Electro-Optical Telescope, the Maui Space Surveillance System, and one of three Ground-based Electro-Optical Deep Space Surveillance sites.

The Air Force Maui Optical and Supercomputing observatory is an Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) operating location at Haleakala Observatory on Maui, Hawaii, with a twofold mission (608). First, it conducts the research and development mission on the Maui Space Surveillance System (MSSS) at the Maui Space Surveillance Complex (MSSC). Second, it oversees operation of the Maui High Performance Computing Center (MHPCC). AFRL's research and development mission on Maui was formally called Air Force Maui Optical Station (AMOS); the use of the term AMOS has been widespread throughout the technical community for over thirty years and is still used today at many technical conferences.[not verified in body] The main-belt asteroid 8721 AMOS is named after the project.[2]


Today's[when?] observatory was initiated by the Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA) in 1961 as the ARPA Midcourse Optical Station (AMOS). It was first proposed by R. Zirkind of ARPA's staff for imaging ballistic missile payloads and decoys during their midcourse phase, and other space objects including satellites, in the infrared spectrum, as well as for performing astronomical research. Its location on Mount Haleakala was nearly ideal for its altitude high above much obscuration by water vapor, for its midcourse location between the missile launch site at Vandenberg Air Force Base and its main reentry location at Kwajalein Atoll, and for its low-latitude location which was advantageous for observing satellites.[citation needed]

The AMOS effort formally began with an amendment to an existing ARPA order with the University of Michigan's Institute for Science and Technology, which was to design, construct, and operate the facility. This amendment defined the AMOS goals as follows: "(1) Identification and signature of space objects; (2) an active program to advance the state of the art in infrared technology and high-resolution imagery; (3) a research program in geophysics and astrophysics including the astronomical community." Design was completed in 1963, and physical plant construction begun by the Army Corps of Engineers. Construction was complete by 1967, after which the telescopes and control systems were evaluated, calibrated, and tested until mid 1969.[citation needed]

In 1969, AMOS potential had been demonstrated, and the Air Force took charge as ARPA's agent. The University of Michigan was replaced by industrial contractors, and numerous system improvements and additions then took place over subsequent years. [3]

Maui Space Surveillance System (MSSS)[edit]

The accessibility and capability of the Maui Space Surveillance System provides an unequaled opportunity to the scientific community by combining state-of-the-art satellite tracking with a facility supporting research and development.

The Maui Space Surveillance System, is routinely involved in numerous observing programs and has the capability of projecting lasers into the atmosphere. Situated at the crest of the dormant volcano Haleakala (IAU code 608), the observatory stands at an altitude of 3058 metres, latitude 20.7 degrees N, and longitude 156.3 degrees W. It is essentially co-located with IAU code 566, Haleakala-NEAT/GEODSS. Virtually year-round viewing conditions are possible due to the relatively stable climate. Dry, clean air and minimal scattered light from surface sources enable visibility exceeding 150 km. Based on double star observations, seeing is typically on the order of one second of arc.[citation needed]

Spanning over 30 years, the evolution of the Maui Space Surveillance System has demonstrated several stages in the history of space object tracking telescopes.[citation needed] Currently, through its primary mission for the United States Space Force, Space Operations Command, (formerly, Air Force Space Command), the Maui Space Surveillance System combines large-aperture tracking optics with visible and infrared sensors to collect data on near Earth and deep-space objects. In the process of accomplishing its mission, the observatory has discovered a number of asteroids (see § List of discovered minor planets)

Advanced Electro-Optical System (AEOS)[edit]

The 3.67-meter telescope, known as the Advanced Electro-Optical System (AEOS), owned by the Department of Defense, is the United States' largest optical telescope designed for tracking satellites. The 75-ton AEOS telescope points and tracks very accurately, yet is fast enough to track both low-Earth satellites and ballistic missiles. AEOS can be used simultaneously by many groups or institutions because its light can be channeled through a series of mirrors to seven independent Coudé focus rooms below the telescope. Employing sophisticated sensors that include an adaptive optics system, radiometer, spectrograph, and long-wave infrared imager, the telescope tracks man-made objects in deep space and performs space object identification data collection.

AEOS is equipped with an adaptive optics system, the heart of which is a 941-actuator deformable mirror that can change its shape to remove the atmosphere's distorting effects. Scientists are expected to get near diffraction-limited images of space objects.

Maui Optical Tracking and Identification Facility (MOTIF)[edit]

The Maui Optical Tracking and Identification Facility (MOTIF) is also hosted at the MSSS site. The system consists of two 1.2-meter telescopes on a common mount. MOTIF is used primarily for Long Wave infrared (LWIR) and photometric data collection.[4]

Other equipment at MSSS includes a 1.6-meter telescope that performs day and night tracking and imaging, a 0.8-meter beam director/tracker, and a 0.6-meter laser beam director. The telescopes accommodate a wide variety of sensor systems, including imaging systems, conventional and contrast mode photometers, infrared radiometers, low light level video systems, and acquisition telescopes.

Ground-based Electro-Optical Deep Space Surveillance (GEODSS)[edit]

The MSSS site, also hosts assets for the Ground-based Electro-Optical Deep Space Surveillance (GEODSS) system.[5]

In addition to these assets, the site has a machine shop, optics laboratories, and electronics laboratories. A Remote Maui Experimental (RME) site at sea level houses additional optics and electronics laboratories. This secondary observation station at Kihei bears IAU code 625 and is located at 20°44′46″N 156°25′54″W / 20.74611°N 156.43167°W / 20.74611; -156.43167.

Maui High Performance Computing Center (MHPCC)[edit]

The Maui High Performance Computing Center (MHPCC) is an Air Force Research Laboratory center currently managed by the University of Hawaii and is located in the Maui Research and Technology Park in Kihei.[6] The MHPCC is a leading computing resource of the Department of Defense research and development community and operates numerous computer clusters, including a 5,120 processor Dell Poweredge cluster named "Jaws" which, as of November 2006, was the 11th most powerful computing systems in the world.[7][8] The Center also has a 12,096 core IBM iDataplex Cluster, named "Riptide" which as November 2013 attained a peak performance Linpack performance of 212 Teraflops and ranked #192 on the Top500 in November 2013.[9]

List of discovered minor planets[edit]

important; height: 675px;
8721 AMOS 14 January 1996 list
9651 Arii-SooHoo 7 January 1996 list
10193 Nishimoto 8 August 1996 list
10863 Oye 31 August 1995 list
11104 Airion 6 October 1995 list
(11993) 1995 XX 8 December 1995 list
12426 Racquetball 14 November 1995 list
12443 Paulsydney 15 March 1996 list
13168 Danoconnell 6 December 1995 list
(14066) 1996 FA4 20 March 1996 list
14942 Stevebaker 21 June 1995 list
(19279) 1995 YC4 28 December 1995 list
(19281) 1996 AP3 14 January 1996 list
(20128) 1996 AK 7 January 1996 list
(21244) 1995 XU1 14 December 1995 list
(26176) 1996 GD2 15 April 1996 list
27870 Jillwatson 12 November 1995 list
(27898) 1996 OS2 23 July 1996 list
(29395) 1996 PO1 5 August 1996 list
31000 Rockchic 11 November 1995 list
31020 Skarupa 17 March 1996 list
32943 Sandyryan 13 November 1995 list
(32949) 1996 AR3 14 January 1996 list
important; height: 675px;
37692 Loribragg 12 November 1995 list
(37700) 1996 AL3 10 January 1996 list
(39671) 1996 AG 7 January 1996 list
(42544) 1996 EL2 11 March 1996 list
(43995) 1997 PY5 14 August 1997 list
48628 Janetfender 7 September 1995 list
(48712) 1996 OV2 26 July 1996 list
(52505) 1996 FD4 22 March 1996 list
(52506) 1996 FK4 23 March 1996 list
(52525) 1996 PJ 8 August 1996 list
(52534) 1996 TB15 7 October 1996 list
58365 Robmedrano 27 July 1995 list
(58575) 1997 RK9 11 September 1997 list
(73953) 1997 UN20 27 October 1997 list
(85374) 1996 FC4 22 March 1996 list
85386 Payton 26 July 1996 list
90817 Doylehall 1 September 1995 list
90818 Daverichards 14 September 1995 list
90820 McCann 20 September 1995 list
(90850) 1996 FM1 16 March 1996 list
(100421) 1996 FF4 23 March 1996 list
(100425) 1996 HM 17 April 1996 list
(120624) 1996 EM2 11 March 1996 list
important; height: 605px;
(120728) 1997 SG32 28 September 1997 list
(120729) 1997 SH32 28 September 1997 list
(120738) 1997 TO17 2 October 1997 list
(150148) 1996 FX3 20 March 1996 list
(162032) 1995 WJ8 20 November 1995 list
(164655) 1996 HR1 22 April 1996 list
(168359) 1996 DH3 29 February 1996 list
(175698) 1995 UQ8 20 October 1995 list
(185670) 1995 RS 14 September 1995 list
(200102) 1995 QH3 31 August 1995 list
(210481) 1996 HQ1 20 April 1996 list
(217636) 1996 PH3 14 August 1996 list
(225304) 1995 WH8 19 November 1995 list
(225308) 1996 HH 17 April 1996 list
(237387) 1996 PM1 1 August 1996 list
(316671) 1995 RN 1 September 1995 list
(321769) 2010 OR30 26 July 1996 list
(322504) 2011 WF14 19 November 1995 list
(382402) 1995 PR 4 August 1995 list
(415695) 1996 GE2 15 April 1996 list
(446786) 1996 GD 7 April 1996 list

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Minor Planet Discoverers (by number)". Minor Planet Center. 4 September 2016. Retrieved 2 November 2016.
  2. ^ Schmadel, Lutz D. (2007). "(8721) Amos". Dictionary of Minor Planet Names – (8721) AMOS. Springer Berlin Heidelberg. p. 662. doi:10.1007/978-3-540-29925-7_7171. ISBN 978-3-540-00238-3.
  3. ^ "AMOS: ARPA Midcourse Optical Station", Chapter X, in DARPA Technical Accomplishments: 1958-1990, Volumes 1-3, Richard H. Van Atta, Sidney G. Reed, Seymour J. Deitchman, et al., Institute for Defense Analyses, January 1990 - March 1991.
  4. ^ "Maui Optical Tracking and Identification Facility (MOTIF)". FAS. Archived from the original on 2015-10-11. Retrieved 2015-05-06.
  5. ^ "Maui Space Surveillance System (MSSS)". FAS. Archived from the original on 2015-10-10. Retrieved 2015-05-06.
  6. ^ "About MHPCC". Archived from the original on 2008-06-21. Retrieved 2008-08-28.
  7. ^ "Top500 List - November 2006".
  8. ^ Maui Supercomputing Center to Reach 60 Teraflops
  9. ^ "Riptide - iDataPlex DX360M4, Xeon E5-2670 8C 2.600GHz, Infiniband FDR".

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 20°42′30″N 156°15′29″W / 20.70833°N 156.25806°W / 20.70833; -156.25806