This year’s short courses will be presented virtually during the 2020 AMOS Conference.  The courses, taught by highly regarded industry experts, will be “live” with the ability to interact with the instructor and attendees in real-time. The topics cover applications for SSA, space policy, space law, conjunction assessment, optical systems, machine learning and more.

To make it possible for people from various time-zones to participate in at least one short course, the four-hour courses will start at 6am Hawaii Standard Time (HST) for the first session, and 11:00am HST for the afternoon course.

With five running concurrently in the morning and five in the afternoon, the short courses provide an opportunity to upgrade technical job skills and remain abreast of recent development in fields of interest.  There is a separate registration fee of $50 for each course.

SHORT COURSE SCHEDULE – September 15, 2020

Morning 6:00 AM – 10:00 AM Afternoon 11:00 AM – 3:00 PM
Space Law & The Space Law Games: Legal Liability and Mapping the Future in Orbit Space CAMP Intro to DevSecOps
The Basics of Domain Awareness in Cislunar Space  Telescopes and Optics for Ground-Based Optical SSA
Collision Avoidance Risk Assessment Using CelesTrak for SSA
Demystifying Machine and Deep Learning  Deep Learning Methods for Space Situational Awareness
Observing and Characterizing Space Debris


6:00 AM – 10:00 AM    SHORT COURSES 1 – 5

Space Law & The Space Law Games: Legal Liability and Mapping the Future in Orbit 

Presented by:
Ralph Dinsley, Executive Director, Northern Space and Security Ltd/Reflecting Space
Christopher Newman, Professor of Space Law and Policy, Northumbria University

This half-day course provides participants with an introductory overview of the way in which space exploration is governed on national and international levels using the lens of the Space Law Games. The course examines the overarching international framework for space governance, with a focus on the Outer Space Treaty provisions and related treaties, with a special examination of the Liability Convention. The discussion will then turn to the way in which the Space Law Games have highlighted the difficulties with the current regime in respect of determining fault in orbital operations and discuss the impact that this will have primarily upon activities such as satellite operations, military and commercial uses of space, but also in a broader sense on human spaceflight activity.

The rise of very large constellations and other innovations, such as active debris removal or on-orbit servicing procedures means ever more data from space is required to keep track of the increasing burden placed on the orbital environment. Participants will examine the need for corroborated information which removes as much ambiguity as possible about the position of objects in orbit; crucial to both safe and sustainable satellite operations. The course will discuss and evaluate the considerable barriers that exist to obtaining a more complete picture of this information.

Participants will then discuss the need for both codification of the norms for safe sustainable satellite operations and clarity on protocols for evidence gathering in cases where a collision has resulted in damage to a space asset and fault may be an issue. This discussion will identify that a way in which this could be achieved is by the use of the Space Law Games, which combine military wargaming and legal mooting. In these games, complex realistic scenarios could highlight some of the key technical, operational and legal issues that might need to be addressed. By identifying the technical and data gaps through a fictional scenario the Space Law Games will help locate possible areas of enhancement in SSA capacity and also gaps in evidential quality data from space. Identifying the wargaming methodology for the simulation, and the need for distinct “games” in different orbits, encompassing future and historic events, is crucial as these will provide the data for the legal phase of the “Space Law Games”. Given the total absence of litigation in respect of fault in space, the resulting paper will demonstrate how the Space Law Games will highlight ways to fill the data gap that currently exists in orbital operations support.

At the end of the course, participants will be invited to evaluate legal responses to new developments such as mining, manufacturing and tourism in space and managing environmental issues in space through the lens of liability and the lessons that can be learnt by employing a wargaming approach. They will examine the challenges and opportunities for space governance posed by growing commercial activity of companies in an area where more traditional state and business organizations are facing competition from small and medium size companies.

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SC2 | The Basics of Domain Awareness in Cislunar Space

Presented by:
Thomas Marshall Eubanks, Chief Scientist, Space Initiatives Inc
Paul Blase, Chief Engineer, Space Initiatives Inc
Charles Radley, President and CEO, Space Initiatives Inc

It is clear that there will be an increasing demand for means to keep track of activities on and near the Moon, to protect and manage the increasing traffic to that body. The Moon is of course close to the Earth, but in many ways cislunar space and the near-Earth space environments are different domains and in many cases it will not be easy or even possible to apply the techniques used for near-Earth space domain analysis to the Moon. This will inevitably lead to the development of new techniques for domain management in this new arena of activity. This short course will focus on the differences between the near-Earth and the Cislunar space domains, and on the tools and techniques for domain awareness and domain management in this new focus for our Nation’s scientific and commercial activities. The intent is to give a grounding and common technical vocabulary for work in this new area.

The Moon is of course easily visible in the night sky, but the multiple operating environments in cislunar space have many features that are not encountered in low or medium Earth orbit. The cislunar orbital environment is much more varied and complicated that a Low Earth Orbit (LEO), the radiation and low frequency radio environments are different and time variable, and the infrastructure available in LEO is generally either severely degraded or not available at the Moon. This short course will describe the relevant physics of the cislunar domain – which, in effect, extends from orbits just about the terrestrial Geostationary belt all the way to the lunar surface and then out well beyond the Moon, and which supports an incredibly wide variety of orbital behaviors and orbital techniques

This course will provide knowledge of both the astrodynamics of the Moon and the astrodynamics of cislunar spacecraft, including our knowledge of the rotation and orbit of the Moon (important for surface sensors), the Weak Stability Boundary (WSB) techniques that provide a highway for slow cargo to the Moon, the difficulties of Low Lunar Orbits (LLO) and the Halo orbits about the Earth-Moon Lagrange points that will feature in both Human spaceflight and Cislunar monitoring and communications networks. Terrestrial GPS suffers from a very bad Geometrical Dilution of Precision (GDOP) at the Moon, and the various means proposed for navigation in cislunar space will be described. Proposed and possible techniques for domain awareness on both the near and far sides of the Moon will be described in some detail. Finally, the Moon has a very complex and poorly understood radio environment at wavelengths much longer than one meter, and we will describe how this might be used in future domain monitoring.

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SC3 | Collision Avoidance Risk Assessment

Presented by:
Francois Laporte, CAESAR Team Leader, CNES
Lauri Newman, Senior Engineer, Goddard Space Flight Center – NASA
Matthew Hejduk, Chief Engineer, NASA Robotic CARA, Astrorum Consulting LLC

The threat of on-orbit collisions has become an increasing concern to the spacefaring community, both as an increasing mission risk due to a more congested space environment and through wider community awareness of the problem.  The operational practice of conjunction assessment in response to this risk has also become more commonplace, evolving from simply predicting close approaches between orbiting objects to sophisticated systems and processes for managing on-orbit collision risk.  This short course, organized and taught by industry leaders and subject matter experts in the field, is designed to educate beginners to intermediate-level practitioners on the fundamentals of conjunction assessment

This course provides a three-part overview of Conjunction Assessment.  The first part is an extended background theory section that includes all the theoretical components which are needed in order to perform conjunction analysis and associated risk assessment. Topics include relevant astrodynamics basics, orbit determination methodologies, space domain awareness basic concepts, satellite conjunction assessment theory, quantified limitations of the two-dimensional probability of collision calculation, Monte Carlo analysis, cross-correlation between satellite covariances, and collision consequence assessments.

The second part of the course contains a treatment of modern conjunction risk assessment practices. The presenters share their operational experience and lessons learned, including some historical collision and close approach prediction statistics.  Topics in this section include using and interpreting satellite probabilities of collision, designing and evaluating collision risk mitigation maneuvers, and understanding and processing the various relevant conjunction assessment data products, including those provided by the 18th Space Control Squadron.

Altogether over 190 satellites are supported by either the NASA Conjunction Assessment Risk Analysis (CARA) or the CNES Conjunction Assessment and Evaluation Service: Alerts and Recommendations (CAESAR), two instances of Middle Man. For both Middle Man examples, operations methods are presented and feedback is discussed. Both organization’s processes regularly evolve in order either to follow 18th Space Control Squadron upgrades or to improve analysis according to operational experience acquired during the past years.

The third and final section of the course contains a treatment of emerging technical and policy challenges for conjunction assessment activities.  The space environment has been rapidly evolving, and is expected to continue to do so in the coming years.

These changes include:

  • many companies are proposing very large constellations
  • cubesats are making space accessible to non-traditional space operators
  • regulation and best practices are evolving
  • efforts continue to define an architechture for a consolidated governmental or international Space Traffic Management (STM) entity
  • the incipient deployment of the Air Force’s Space Fence radar is expected to greatly increase the number of catalouged space objects

This course not only demonstrates that Collision Avoidance is a 2-step process (close approach detection followed by risk evaluation to enable making a sound collision avoidance decision) but also leads to the conclusion that the complicated topic leads to the need for an experienced Middle Man role to provide expert advice to spacecraft operators. This course is presented jointly between Centre National d’Etudes Spatiales (the French Space Agency) and the NASA Conjunction Assessment Risk Analysis team.

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SC4 | Demystifying Machine and Deep Learning

Presented by:
Joseph Coughlin, Aerospace Corp
Rohit Mital, Chief Technologist, KBR Inc.
Weston Faber, Research Scientist, L3 Harris

Operators and analysts are being overwhelmed with the amount of data available from both existing and new classes of sensors. When multiple sensors are combined in a network, the magnitude of the data becomes too great to analyze by conventional means. Machine Learning has been proposed as a solution to “big data” problems which will enable analysts to evaluate and determine courses of action based on information. A lot of misinformation surrounds Machine Learning and its potential to solve SDA problems. This short course builds upon the course given last year by further delving into Machine Learning and especially Deep Learning techniques to solve potential problems of interest to AMOS participants. This course presents an overview of current technologies and software and hardware architectures but especially the crucial details on Machine Learning algorithms for aspiring or current users so that they can utilize Machine Learning and Deep Learning techniques in their exploitation of existing data. A key aspect of this course is the discussion of how and when Machine Learning is applicable. An overview of emerging technologies in Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence, such as Explainable AI and Reinforcement Learning, will also be presented. Although many of the cases presented deal with the exploitation of optical data, the techniques can be applied to other data types as well.

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SC5 | Observing and Characterizing Space Debris

Presented by:
Thomas Schildknecht, Vice Director, Head Optical Astronomie, Director Zimmerwald Observatory, Astronomisches Institut Universität Bern 

The proliferation of space debris and the increased probability of collisions and interference raise concerns about the long-term sustainability of space activities, particularly in the low-Earth orbit and geostationary orbit environments. During recent years governments, space agencies and civilian research organizations increased their efforts to build space object catalogues and to investigate the space debris population in different orbit regions. Understanding the nature and the sources of debris is a prerequisite to provide the scientific foundation for a sustainable use of near-Earth space.

This course will provide a general introduction to the space debris problem, give an overview on the current space debris research activities to detect and characterize space debris, followed by a presentation of the efforts to model the future space debris population and the international efforts to protect and remediate the space environment. Particular focus will be put on optical techniques to detect, track and characterize space objects including small-size debris. The techniques will be illustrated with examples from the long-standing observation programs of the Astronomical Institute of the University of Bern (AIUB).

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11:00 AM – 3:00 PM    SHORT COURSES 6 – 10

SC6 | Space CAMP Intro to DevSecOps

Presented by:
Samuel Kreimier, 1st Lt, US Air Force
Patrick Lorigan, Space CAMP
Tory Smith, 2d Lt, US Air Force
Rob Slaughter, Director, Platform One

Located in Colorado Springs, CO, Space CAMP is a software factory focused on the continuous development and deployment of Space C2 mission applications to the warfighter. Space CAMP is a joint program between organizations including SMC, AFRL, the 14th AF Combat Development Division, AFWERX, Naval Information Warfare Center Pacific, and USAFCENT that leverages Platform One (the DoD Executive agent for DevSecOps) for CI/CD. Space CAMP has built upon the processes proven out by Kessel Run with some additions: avoid vendor-lock by building an open platform (Kubernetes/Istio), embrace DevSecOps principles outlined by the DoD CIO and AF CSO, consider microservice/service mesh architectures early and often, leverage event-driven behavior across the entire portfolio, and build a network of like-minded software shops for collaboration. By embracing the eXtreme programming (XP) flavor of agile software development, Space CAMP is able to continually produce quality code that can adapt to rapid changes and meet the high level of security standards necessary for maintaining a Continuous-ATO. The pillars of XP include paired programming, test driven development, continuous integration/continuous delivery, and small iterations. Additionally, the applications developed at Space CAMP follow user-centered design, a process through which designers continuously engage with users and employ a mixture of investigative and generative methods and tools to develop an understanding of user needs. This whole process results in recurring capability delivery to the operations floor.

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SC7 | Telescopes and Optics for Ground-Based Optical SSA

Presented by:
Peter Zimmer, Astronomer, J.T. McGraw and Associates, LLC
Mark Ackermann, Optical Lead, J.T. McGraw and Associates, LLC

This course will provide those new to the SSA community (as well as those seeking a refresher) an introductory-level understanding of the tools and techniques used for detecting and tracking earth-orbiting satellites with ground-based optical instruments.  The course begins with an overview of optical telescopes and includes a discussion of many of the key terms and buzzwords one might encounter when reading about ground-based optical telescopes. From there, the course presents an overview of how these components are assembled into a sensor package for night time optical SSA and can be optimized to suit various mission goals.  This includes a discussion of satellite visual magnitudes, terminator viewing, sensitivity, search rate and related topics.  Finally, the course presents a brief look at the challenges and differences of optical systems for daytime optical SSA.

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SC8 | Using CelesTrak for SSA

Presented by:
T.S. Kelso, SDC Operations Manager, Center for Space Standards & Innovation

CelesTrak was the first site to offer SSA data to the public digitally, starting back in 1985. Over the past 35 years, it has built a reputation for quality and reliability that draws millions of unique users every month. SSA data is available from a wide variety of sources for use by everyone from satellite operators to amateur observers. CelesTrak also began providing the first conjunction advisory service via SOCRATES, staring in 2004. And CelesTrak regularly works with satellite operators, such as SpaceX, to produce SSA products for users that may not be otherwise available.

Today, CelesTrak’s goal is to shorten the time from question to answer for a wide range of SSA issues. Interactive tables make it easy to query for information on satellites and launches. Our new Orbit, Pass, and Conjunction Visualization features allow users to quickly and easily visualize what is going on in Earth orbit, regardless of operating system or platform, via a simple, intuitive web interface.

This course will start by reviewing the different types of data available on CelesTrak and then diving into how to most effectively use the site to find the information you need. We will review our Orbit, Pass, and Conjunction Visualization features in depth, to ensure attendees are familiar with the core capabilities and can see how it can be applied to a variety of analysis, research, and educational questions. Students are encouraged to bring an Internet-connected device so that they can follow along (there is no need to pre-install software or create a user account).

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SC9 | Deep Learning Methods for Space Situational Awareness

Presented by:
Roberto Furfaro, Professor, University of Arizona
Weston Faber, Senior Research Scientist, L3Harris
Richard Linares, Charles Stark Draper Assistant Professor, Massachusetts
Institute of Technology

Over the past decade, the field of machine learning has experienced incredible improvements in the applicability and accuracy of its techniques.  More importantly, due to availability of data and advancements in computing hardware (e.g. GPUs), deep learning has gained huge popularity due to its success in many field (e.g. image processing and classification, speech recognition, computer vision, robotics). These advances present huge opportunities for the SSA community as it faces ever increasing scope, sensing modalities, and data volumes. This short course will provide and introduction of deep learning and associated applications to SSA. The first portion of the course will cover a broad overview of deep learning methods with an emphasis on those areas that seem most directly relevant to SSA. The second portion of the course will examine a set of case studies of the techniques being to real SSA problems, including code examples in Python (Tensorflow, Keras)

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You can add short courses when you register.