New Space Telescope in WA

Filed under Government, News, Science & Research ~ by Press on  29 Apr 2020

A joint Australia-United States Space Surveillance Telescope at Exmouth on WA’s Coral Coast is under construction.

Chief of Air Force, Air Marshal Leo Davies said the telescope would increase the capacity to detect and track objects in space in order to manage threats, including space debris, and predict and avoid potential collisions.

These $97.2 million facilities are the first of their type built for the Australian Defence Force and represent a significant achievement by Defence and Australian industry to enable the capability to be realised.

Air Force is working with Australian industry and educational institutions to build domestic space surveillance capability for Australia,” Air Marshal Davies said.

The construction of the 270 tonne rotating dome enclosure and supporting facilities is a significant achievement for Australian industry. The design and manufacture of the track and bogie mechanisms to allow the dome to rotate was undertaken by Hofmann Engineering, a Perth based contractor, resulting in a world leading product. The dome allows full 360 degree viewing of the night sky.

Construction of the unique facilities by a combined team of contractors led by Aurecon as Project Manager/Contract Administrator and Sitzler Construction as Prime Contractor.

The telescope was initially developed in the United States for scientific research. Through a partnership between the Royal Australian Air Force and the United States Space Force, it has since been relocated to Exmouth, Western Australia.

Minister for Defence Industry and local Member for Durack, the Hon Melissa Price MP, said Sitzler Construction built the 2-megawatt central power station for the Space Surveillance Telescope with support from local and national industry suppliers.

The Space Surveillance Telescope will now undergo extensive testing, and is expected to be operational in 2022.

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