Tuesday, 2 January 2018

2017 in a nutshell

All measured positions of 2017
click map to enlarge

The year 2017 was a good year in as far as my satellite observations are concerned. I measured 1768 positions (see map above), on 95 different objects.

1715 of these were measurements on my own imagery from station 4353. Another 49 were on images taken by Paul Camilleri (station 8600) in Australia; and 4 were on imagery taken by Alain Figer in France. The diagram below shows the distribution of observations over the months.

click diagram to enlarge

The year 2017 was an interesting year, with interesting new avenues and quite some press attention. We chased a couple of new launches, of which NROL-76 (USA 276) was a peculiar one. I also started to give some serious attention to the analysis of North Korean missile tests.

I started to use new video software for the observations of objects in LEO in 2017, which increased the output and the accuracy of positions. Objects in HEO and GEO are still photographically imaged.

Medio 2017 I became a consultant in an interesting Space Situational Awareness project for the Space Security Center of the Royal Dutch Air Force. As part of this project I was temporarily employed at the Department of Astronomy of Leiden University.

In July in The Space Review I published an analysis of NROL-76 (USA 276) and its weird flyby of the International Space Station early June 2017, that generated some press attention. Late 2017, my analysis of  North Korean missile test launch imagery generated press attention too.

In December, I was interviewed by the Volkskrant (a major Dutch newspaper) about whether or not an "Arms Race in Space" was upcoming.

Unrelated to satellites, I was involved in the identification of the 6th meteorite of the Netherlands, Broek in Waterland,an L6 chondrite, in February, which we presented at Naturalis (the Dutch National Museum of Natural History) in June 2017. This resulted in me being a guest in the Live RTL Late Night TV show on national television.

In RTL Late Night with the Broek in Waterland meteorite
All in all, quite a remarkable year!

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