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Space Surveillance Telescope is declared operational

Defence, in collaboration with the United States Space Force (USSF), has achieved Initial Operational Capability of the WA-based Space Surveillance Telescope (SST) to provide greatly enhanced Space Domain Awareness (SDA).

As announced at the 2012 Australia-United States Ministerial Consultations (AUSMIN), the SST was relocated to Australia from the US to strengthen the US Space Surveillance Network’s ability to track space assets and debris and provide warnings of possible collisions between space objects.

The SST was originally located at the White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico and is now located at the Harold E Holt Naval Communication Station at Exmouth, WA. It has a 3.5m aperture mirror

In March 2020, the SST captured its first images of objects in space from its new location.

Since 2020, the telescope has undergone a rigorous testing and evaluation program to prove it is ready for ongoing operations. With testing complete, the SST will allow greater space domain awareness by providing ground-based, broad-area search, detection and tracking of faint objects in deep space.

Commander Defence Space Command AVM Cath Roberts said this milestone was an important step for the Alliance and the future of space capability in Australia.

“In an increasingly contested and congested space environment, The Space Surveillance Telescope will provide enhanced awareness of the space domain and contribute to greater Alliance cooperation,” AVM Roberts said. “The bespoke facilities and supporting infrastructure are as much of a milestone as the telescope itself and represent a significant achievement by Defence and Australian industry”.

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