US, Australia Agree on Space-Monitoring Telescope’s Relocation

The United States will begin relocating the DARPA-developed Space Surveillance Telescope from White Sands Missile Range, N.M., to Australia next year based on the agreement the two nations signed in late November, according to DARPA. The telescope is expected to resume operations sometime in 2016 at the Naval Communication Station Harold E. Holt in Exmouth in Western Australia, states the agency’s Dec. 6 release. “SST has moved space situational awareness from looking through a drinking straw to a windshield view, where we can see 10,000 objects the size of a softball at a time,” said Lt. Col. Travis Blake, DARPA program manager. “From its new location, it could greatly expand the capability of the United States, Australia, and other nations to keep their space assets safe,” he said. The Australian government will build an enclosure for the telescope at Holt and operate SST, according to the release. The US Air Force will own the telescope, and the two countries will share operations and maintenance costs. The United States is also moving a C-band radar system to Australia for space surveillance. (See also US, Australia Boost Space-Surveillance Cooperation.)