Air Force Maui Optical and Supercomputing observatory, Lahaina (Maui), HI | CruiseBe
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Air Force Maui Optical and Supercomputing observatory

History and museums

The Air Force Maui Optical and Supercomputing (AMOS) observatory is an Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) operating location on Maui, Hawaii, with a twofold mission. 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 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.


Maui Space Surveillance System (MSSS)

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.

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.

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.

In the process of accomplishing its mission, the observatory has discovered a number of asteroids.

Optical Assets

Spanning over 30 years, the evolution of the Maui Space Surveillance System has demonstrated several stages in the history of space object tracking telescopes. Currently, through its primary mission for 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.

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 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.

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.

Other equipment at MSSS includes a 1.6-meter telescope, 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.

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

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.

Maui High Performance Computing Center (MHPCC)

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. 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. 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.


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