US, Australia Boost Space-Surveillance Cooperation

The United States and Australia will establish a radar station and an optical telescope site on Australian soil to bolster the two countries’ ability to detect, track, and identify space objects, such as satellites and debris, announced the Pentagon on Nov. 14. Australia will operate an Air Force C-band ground-based radar system that the two allies will set up at the Harold E. Holt Naval Communications Station at North West Cape in Western Australia, according to the Defense Department’s release. The United States will deliver the radar in 2014. It will be the first space-surveillance sensor in the southern hemisphere that is designed to watch for objects in low Earth orbit and will “significantly contribute to tracking high-interest space launches from Asia,” said DOD. The two nations will also beddown DARPA’s Space Surveillance Telescope at a yet-to-be-determined location. SST is configured to monitor areas of deep space associated with satellites in geosynchronous orbits. DARPA completed testing SST at its current site in New Mexico in August, states the release. This announcement came on the heels of Defense Secretary Leon Panetta’s official visit to Australia for meetings with his Australian counterpart, Stephen Smith.