NOIRLab, in collaboration with the National Science Foundation, is pleased to announce the “Satellite Constellations, Laser Guide Stars (LGS) and Laser Clearinghouse (LCH) Workshop” on 12 and 13, April 2023, at Vandenberg Space Force Base (VSFB), Lompoc, CA. The goal of this two day workshop is to identify and prioritize strategies and options for mitigating the impact of the low earth orbit satellite constellations on the propagation of astronomical lasers for US and US-based Observatories.


The launch of the communication satellite constellations (SATCONs) in 2019 have had an impact on both optical and radio astronomical observing. There has also been an impact on laser guide star (LGS) operations for adaptive optics. US & US-based observatories follow the Department of Defense Laser Deconfliction protocol via the US Space Command’s Laser Clearing House. Since the launch of the SATCONs the average number of closure windows has increased by 30% – 40% specifically for those of short duration. Each closure event causes significant accumulated AO downtime and recovery time. The numbers are expected to increase significantly as the number of SATCONs increases putting current and future US Observatories at a competitive disadvantage to other Observatories around the world which
are not required to follow the LCH requirement. The purpose of this workshop is to bring the relevant US participants together including representation from the astronomical community, satellite operators, and a number of government agencies including the National Science Foundation, NASA, Department of Defense, and the Department of Commerce. The goal is to develop a long-term solution to minimize the scientific impact of these closures which is acceptable to all parties as the number of SATCONs increases. Please note that participation in this workshop is by invitation only and is necessarily limited due to the capacity of the venue and the format of the workshop.


The closest airports to VSFB are shown below:

  • Santa Maria Public Airport (11.0 miles / 17.7 kilometers)
  • San Luis Obispo County Regional Airport (34.5 miles / 55.5 kilometers)
  • Santa Barbara Municipal Airport (44.6 miles / 71.8 kilometers)


Vandenberg Inn is located on Base and arrangements are pending. There are additional hotels located within 20 minutes of VSFB in Lompoc:

  • SureStay Plus Hotel by Best Western – 1621 N H St, Lompoc, CA 93436 • (805) 735-8555
  • Lompoc Valley Inn & Suites – 1621 N H St, Lompoc, CA 93436 • (805) 735-8555
  • Holiday Inn Express – 1417 N H St, Lompoc, CA 93436 • (805) 736-2391

Group Dinner

Wednesday, April 12 at 7:00 PM at The Hitching Post.

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