Images of space from the Space Surveillance Telescope in remote Western Australia have been captured, marking a significant milestone for the Defence space project.
The first pictures from the joint Australia-United States space facility at Exmouth on WA’s Coral Coast follows its reassembly in a purpose-built facility, complete with a 270-tonne rotating dome.
Minister for Defence Linda Reynolds said the telescope is a game changer for Defence.
“This world-leading, 360-degree telescope will enable Defence to better track and identify objects and threats in space including space debris, as well as predict and avoid potential collisions,” Minister Reynolds said.
“It will become an important part of the global Space Surveillance Network, which provides space domain awareness to both Australia and the US.”
The telescope was initially developed in the US for scientific research. Through a partnership between the RAAF and the US Space Force, it has since been relocated to Exmouth.
“Our alliance with the US is at the core of Australia’s security and defence planning, and provides Australia access to advanced technology and information,” Minister Reynolds said.
“In an increasingly complex security environment, closer Australian-US defence cooperation will strengthen our respective capability advantages.”
Minister for Defence Industry and local MP Melissa Price said Sitzler Construction built the 2-megawatt central power station for the Space Surveillance Telescope with support from local and national industry suppliers.
“Constructing a purpose-built facility and all of the accompanying infrastructure for such an important capability in a remote part of Australia is an outstanding achievement,” Minister Price said.
“I’m particularly proud of the contribution by local companies, and that this facility highlights the important role regional Australia has to play in the safety and security of our nation.”
The Space Surveillance Telescope will now undergo extensive testing, and is expected to be operational in 2022.