Wildfires, a four-star general and a sold-out conference headlined the 24th AMOS Conference held September 19-22 at the Wailea Beach Resort, Maui. The premier technical conference in the nation devoted to Space Domain Awareness hosted 1082 in-person attendees from 22 countries, with a further 269 participating virtually.
The conference began with a solemn note and a cultural blessing acknowledging the devastation by the August 8 wildfires that created a shadow over proceedings.
“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, MEDB President and CEO, in her opening address. “We appreciate the support of those who showed up to support Maui and are grateful for the outpouring of Aloha.”
The AMOS Conference decision to proceed as scheduled was not taken lightly. All factors were considered, including the livelihoods and economy of remaining businesses of Maui that are dependent on visitors to survive. The AMOS Conference brings together a respected (and respectful) global scientific community to share leading research in space technology and policy, to learn and to connect. They were also there to support Maui.
With many requests from the AMOS community to support Maui in the recovery from the wildfires, an AMOS for Maui Fund was established. Just over $5,000 was raised directly with 100% of Funds raised to go to Hawaii Community Foundations’ Maui Strong Fund. Large donations were also made directly to Maui Strong Fund and a number of participants and their partners volunteered their time during their stay on Maui.
The AMOS Conference program featured daily Keynote speakers, SSA/SDA policy forums, 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.
General B. Chance Saltzman, Chief of Space Operations, United States Space Force, presented the opening keynote. He started off by sharing 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 who had deployed starlink terminals to the westside in response to the wildfires. “The terminals served to not only provide power and communications and also helped first responders with communications support and thereby helped nearby residents with charging stations, even refrigerator and freezing capability off the truck-mounted terminals.”
Saltzman spoke of the world class observatory atop Haleakala supporting space missions and space control, space sustainability and other related fields. “In addition to being called the ‘neighborhood watch’ of space, the 15SPSS is committed to being good neighbors of Maui.”
Elizabeth Pearce, of the Australian Space Agency, drew upon similarities between the Native Hawaiian and Indigenous Australian cultures in her keynote on Day 3. The Australian Space Agency logo, incorporates constellations of indigenous Australians – acknowledged as the world’s oldest astronomers.
“This is a fantastic opportunity to get together with all of the partners that we usually meet online,” said Pearce. “Having everyone together in one place at one time is incredibly impactful. There are key players in all of the countries represented here and I’ve met them and they now know who I am and they now have an avenue into Australia to work with us, and I now have an avenue to them…it’s groundbreaking!”
AMOS Conference received over 350 abstracts from 22 countries with 195 papers selected for oral or poster presentation. Awards are given annually to Best Paper and Best Student Paper as well as a number of awards for Poster Presenters.
The rich program was complemented by numerous networking opportunities with breakfast and lunch included and nightly networking receptions. On Wednesday evening the Women and Allies in Space Domain Awareness networking event was held for the second year. Dr. Janet Wolfson, Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Space Acquisition and Integration (SAF/SQT), was the guest speaker at the reception aimed to strengthen and empower the community of women Space Domain Awareness professionals, as well as heighten the understanding of gender disparity within space-related careers.
The poster and exhibit venue was a hive of activity with exhibiting sponsors demonstrating their products and services. Exhibiting sponsors were: Advanced Scientific Concepts, Astro Haven Enterprises, Ball Aerospace, Celestron, Charles River Analytics, COMSPOC, Deloitte Consulting, Digantara, General Atomics Electromagnetic Systems, GEOST, Hart Scientific Consulting International, JHU Applied Physics Laboratory, Kayhan Space, KBR, Kratos, LeoLabs, Lipoa, Lockheed Martin, LSAS Tec, Northstar Earth & Space, Planewave Instruments, Rocket Communications, SAIC, SEAKR, Slingshot Aerospace, SpaceMap, SpaceNav, SpiderOak, Terran Orbital, TOPTICA Photonics, TransAstra.
Sponsoring, but not exhibiting, were Advanced Space, Aerospace Corporation, Anduril, Astroscale, Cloudstone Innovations, EO Solutions, ExoAnalytic Solutions, Frontgrade, GMV, L3 Harris, Linquest, NEC, Northrop Grumman, Orbital Composites, Peraton, Raytheon, Sandia National Lab, SpaceX, The Boeing Company, USRA.
The AMOS Conference also includes an EMER-GEN Program for young professionals (read more) and a Space Exploration Day. On Friday, 150 middle school students came to the conference venue for Space Exploration Day where they were treated to a presentation by astronaut Scott “Scooter” Altman followed by hands-on, space-related activities with select AMOS exhibitors and local organizations.
The AMOS Conference is presented by the Maui Economic Development Board, Inc. (MEDB), a nonprofit corporation established in 1982 to focus on diversifying Maui’s economy. MEDB’s mission involves taking innovative actions that strengthen existing industry as well as diversifying through new opportunities.