Air Force takes delivery of space surveillance telescope

Stephen Kuper

The Defence Estate and Infrastructure Group (E&IG) has handed over ownership of the new space surveillance telescope building to the Defence Capability Acquisition and Sustainment Group (CASG).

The completed building and supporting facilities, located in Exmouth, Western Australia, are an important milestone in Project AIR 3029 Phase 2 – Space Surveillance Telescope. The space telescope will be housed in the new building and its installation is on track to meet initial operating capability in 2021.

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,” AIRMSHL Davies said. 

The construction of the 270 tonne rotating dome enclosure and supporting facilities is a significant achievement for the 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.

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Construction of the unique facilities by a combined team of contractors led by Aurecon as project manager/contract administrator and Sitlzer Construction as prime contractor demonstrated the capability of businesses local to the Exmouth area to deliver Defence projects.

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

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