OSC Students Integral in Satellite Tracking Telescopes

    Date Posted: 
    Thursday, May 25, 2017

    College of Optical Sciences undergrads Ryan Bronson and Marco Colpo were among the UA Engineering team that has received much attention for building two telescopes that will track satellites, at a fraction of the cost of buying new.

    Assistant Professor Vishnu Reddy of the UA Lunar and Planetary Laboratory recruited the five undergraduate engineers and proposed the project to be completed through the UA Engineering Design Program. With this in mind, the team began researching how to build telescopes from the ground up, instead of spending upwards of $50,000 each for off the shelf telescopes. 

    Together, the students built two 24-inch telescopes in seven months for $30,000 total, which included mirrors recycled from the Kuiper observatory's telescope. One will be placed in a room on the sixth floor of the Kuiper Space Sciences building, which had been transformed into a small observatory in the early 1990s. The second telescope's location has not yet been determined, though Biosphere 2 has been discussed.

    Starting June 20, the telescope will run autonomously each night, helping to identify the unique color signatures of satellites to better identify them. 

    For more details on the project, see the article on UA News.

    The team on Engineering Design Day. OSC students are Ryan Bronson (back row, left) and Marco Colpo (kneeling.)