The site will operate the company’s ninth and 10th space radars, which are expected to go online after testing is completed in the coming weeks.
Both radars will be integrated into the global LeoLabs network, which has recently been bolstered by the addition of a radar site in the Azores which became operational in August 2022.
The radars that form LeoLabs network are used to observe and surveil low-Earth orbit (LEO), which has been growing ever more crowded as more satellites are launched into orbit.
Construction on the radar site in Collie, WA, proceeded rapidly, with the construction development only beginning in April of this year.
James Brown, chief executive officer (CEO) of the Space Industry Association of Australia, commended LeoLabs on the pace of their development.
“It is impressive to see the speed and development of this strategic radar build in WA,” he said.
“LeoLabs is fully committed to making Australia a space surveillance superpower. Australia clearly has an opportunity to become a leader in global space surveillance and governance, and LeoLabs has an important role to play in supporting that mission.”
The WASR installation will form a significant portion of the space surveillance capabilities of the Southern Hemisphere, alongside LeoLabs Kiwi Space Radar which is located in the South Island of New Zealand.
Between the two radars, LeoLabs expects a significantly increased revisit rate as well as much more accurate tracking of space objects in LEO.
As the only commercial provider of space surveillance radar data, LeoLabs is able to offer the space industry a wide range of products and services stemming from its radar operations, including tracking and monitoring, collision avoidance, launch window analysis and confirmation, launch support, orbital risk analysis and space domain awareness.
LeoLabs Australia president and managing director Terry van Haren spoke about the company’s aims.
“LeoLabs aims to detect and track the growing debris problem and help manage traffic in low-Earth orbit,” he said.
“Satellite constellation owners and operators globally now rely on LeoLabs to protect their highly valuable assets in space through its services and products. We hope more will follow.”
Dan Ceperley, the CEO and co-founder of LeoLabs, emphasised their focus on growing the Australian space industry.
“The WASR is another massive, visible step forward in LeoLabs’ long-term investment in Australia — which started last year when we hired a world-class team led by retired Air Commodore Terry van Haren.”
Liam McAneny is a journalist who has written and edited for his University International Relations journal. He graduated with a Bachelor of Arts (International Relations) and Bachelor of Laws from the University of Wollongong in 2021. He joined Momentum Media in 2022 and currently writes for SpaceConnect and Australian Aviation. Liam has a keen interest in geopolitics and international relations as well as astronomy.
Send Liam an email at: [email protected]