Utah State University Space Situational Awareness Telescope for Astrodynamics Research


The Utah State University Space Situational Awareness Telescope for Astrodynamics Research (USU-STAR) is a remotely-operated small aperture (10") Imaging Dall-Kirkham astrograph located at USU's Bear Lake Observatory in Garden City, UT.  The goal of USU-STAR is two fold: to provide a means to empirically validate astrodynamical theory developed for space surveillance, and to feed insight gained from the validation back to the theory.  USU-STAR achieved first light on October 21, 2016 at 10:56pm.

Initial construction of USU-STAR was supported by a research agreement with IHI Corporation (Tokyo, Japan), in addition to faculty startup funds from USU.  The optical properties of the USU-STAR system were optimized so as to attain maximum limiting magnitude for the aperture size.  Detailed specifications are available below:


Optics: AG Optical Systems Imaging Dall-Kirkham (iDK) 10", f/6.7

Camera: Finger Lakes Imaging ProLine PL16801 4K4K CCD (KAF-16801)

Mount: Astrosysteme Austria DDM-85 Basic German equatorial w/ custom bent pier

Structure: Astro Haven Enterprises 7 ft dome


We are always on the lookout for potential collaborators who would like to use data from USU-STAR.  We aim to set aside 30% of observation time for such projects.  Please contact the PI if you are interested.

Space Object Catalog Data Collection (2017) - USU-STAR was tasked with collected accurate astrometry data on GEO and GPS satellites for use in maintaining a space object catalog for Numerica Corporation. Images were processed and data submitted within 12 hours of observations


Theoretical Limiting magnitude: 16

Field of View: 1.28 degrees

Timing accuracy: 1 milisecond

Average number of images per night of operation: 500-700 Images

USU_STAR Projects
Telescope/Observatory capabilities