SRBL was invented in 1992 at Caltech, when Dr. Gordon
Hurford developed a unique burst location technique based on spectral
measurements rather than interferomery or mechanical scanning. The
Solar Astronomy group at Caltech then designed, built, and tested
two prototypes, borrowing heavily from earlier systems operating at
the Owens Valley Radio Observatory (OVRO) near Big Pine, California.
The first was installed and operated at the Air Force Solar Observatory
on Palehua, Hawaii; remaining there until early 1999. The second is
installed at OVRO, where it continues to take solar data and is used
as a test bed for system modifications and upgrades.
SRBL was originally developed under an Air Force contract
to Caltech as a technical feasibility and demonstration program, to
compliment the USAF Solar Optical Observing Network (SOON) in detecting
and locating radio/flare activity on the solar disk during obscured
visual conditions. Later, SRBL was augmented to provide a replacement
for the aging and costly Radio Solar Telescope Network (RSTN). Frequency
extensions were added, along with improved calibration procedures
and capabilities, horizon-to-horizon coverage, remote and unattended
operation, and standardized messaging capabilities.
In 1998, the USAF selected Raytheon Technical Services
Company to fabricate, install, and support SRBL systems worldwide.
Present Caltech activities include technical direction of the program,
maintenance/operation of the OVRO prototype, and continuing development
of hardware and software to make scientific/functional improvements.
The USAF mission for SRBL is to improve space weather
forecasts through use of burst location and spectral information.
The most likely Solar Electro-Optical Network (SEON) sites include:
Palehua - Hawaii, Learmonth - Australia, San Vito - Italy, Sagamore
Hill - MA, and/or Holloman - New Mexico. Data will be sent over dedicated
circuits to a central facility in Coloroado, and to the NOAA Space
Environmental Center in Boulder.