Born in New York and raised on Maui, Dylan Schwarzmeier is currently working toward a Bachelor of Applied Science in the field of Engineering Technology at the University of Hawaii Maui College. Dylan’s ultimate goal is to work in a cutting-edge technical career on Maui that would support a comfortable lifestyle. When he is not busy with school or work, Dylan can be found windsurfing somewhere on the north shore of Maui.
Home Island: Maui
Institute when accepted: University of Hawaii Maui College
Detection of GEO Satellites Through Shadow Imaging
Project Site: Pacific Defense Solutions, LLC
Mentor: Riki Maeda
Due to the spatial resolution limits of current satellite-tracking systems, successful imaging of satellites within a geostationary Earth orbit (GEO) has never knowingly been performed. The scenario of a malfunctioning GEO satellite, prompting a long costly damage assessment, could be mitigated by a visual assessment of the satellite. Shadow imaging proposes an inexpensive solution to this problem by capturing the diffraction pattern created from a satellite occultation. When a satellite passes between the Earth and a specific star, a shadow of the satellite can be observed from Earth in the form of a diffraction pattern. By utilizing an array of inexpensive mobile 14-inch-diameter telescopes equipped with rapid readout photon counting detectors, the diffraction pattern created by a satellite’s occultation can be measured and mapped. The diffracted silhouette of the satellite can then be processed in an algorithm that corrects for diffraction to produce a high-resolution silhouette of the satellite.