Existing space situational awareness (SSA) sensors are large and expensive. Relatively few have been constructed. As a side effect, significant gaps are left in the capabilities of the space surveillance network (SSN). To address this gap, SpaceView takes a cost-first design approach that seeks to introduce hundreds of SSA sites for a fraction of the cost of existing SSA sensor systems through involvement with an active and engaged amateur community.
SpaceView intends to place high-quality astronomical hardware and software at sites provided by amateur astronomers. State of the art hardware and relatively minor financial compensation may be provided in exchange for the shared telescope time, site security, and routine maintenance. This allows the SpaceView concept to significantly reduce deployment costs when compared to traditional optical space-surveillance facilities. Equally important, remote observing and the availability of the local SpaceView member for troubleshooting eliminates the need for any paid employees at the site, further decreasing operational costs.
SpaceView is in the initial phase which consists of developing the network architecture and demonstrating the ability to remotely and automatically operate a network of sites from a central location. A large part of developing the network architecture consists of determining the needs of the amateur astronomy community so that these needs can be aligned with the space surveillance needs of SpaceView. The result will be an architecture that provides both parties with improved capabilities and years of happy observing.
SpaceView is currently seeking information from all interested amateur astronomers. If you have not done so please visit the “sign up” page of this site. By providing your contact information and the answers to a few basic questions you will be helping us to begin the process of gathering the information we need to develop the network architecture concept more thoroughly. Once your information has been received by SpaceView you will most likely receive a link via email to a questionnaire requesting more detailed information regarding your astronomy background, observing habits, as well as other demographic information. This information will be used by SpaceView to determine the habits and needs of candidate network members. Without this information Spaceview cannot properly develop a time sharing and cost model to offer future members that will promote many years of happy observing by all parties.