• Space Domain Awareness for Australia is becoming more of a sovereign concern. [Getty]
    Space Domain Awareness for Australia is becoming more of a sovereign concern. [Getty]

Updated 30 June, 2020 9:30am

For the first time, the Wide Area Surveillance System Program Office (WASSPO) hosted a webinar for the regular industry briefing program. With a focus on the Space Domain Awareness (SDA) program, the presenters from CASG and RAAF went through the range programs they have on the books and the path forward for the domain.

CASG’s Jennifer Stevenson and RAAF Headquarters Space Control Group Group Captain Chris Robson explained that the SDA program will be ‘delivered differently’ under a holistic view, noting that no single solution can meet all of Defence’s needs at the one time.

“An SDA capability requires multi-technology, multi-layered sensor network to collect data and mission system to consolidate and process that data into usable formats to meet end user and intelligence needs,” GPCAPT Robson said. He also noted that while Australia has a reliance on five eyes partners for space technologies, Australia is building its own level of sovereignty and resilience in this domain.

Previously to be delivered under JP 9350 and 9351, the SDA program is under the aegis of RAAF as the capability manager for the space domain. The program office has a number of topics of interest including:

  • Architecture
  • Platforms
  • Applications
  • Sensor capability – ground and space-based capability, active/passive radar, optical (this will be the first approach to market)
  • Data pipeline
  • Data warehouse
  • Cyber

The program office works closely with DST to support these topics, along with partnering again with both DST and RAAF for forums like SpaceFest to bring together all parties with industry and academia.

“There won’t be a single winner under this program,” Stevenson said in explanation of the multi-phased nature of the tender process with its five tranches. “It’s not a ‘set and forget’ type of technology. Sustainment will also be a key way of upgrading and introducing new technologies to keep pace with the environment. We don’t want to lock in a single vendor. We don’t have all the answers today because we don’t want to exclude future developments.”


In terms of engaging with industry going forward, Stevenson outlined the following timeline over the coming six months with a heavy reliance on AusTender for communications:

  1. June – RFI for SpaceFest 2020/21
  2. July – RFP for Space Surveillance capability
  3. July/Aug – industry briefing for space surveillance capability RFP (most likely to also be online)
  4. Aug/Sept – RFQ for SpaceFest 2020
  5. Nov – industry briefing
  6. Nov-Dec – SpaceFest 2020 Event (most likely at Woomera for the third year running)
  7. Jan/Feb – industry briefing

Slides from the presentation can be downloaded from AusTender.

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