Australia’s Space Surveillance Radar reaches Full Operational Capability

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Senator the Hon Marise Payne

Minister for Defence

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  • Henry Budd (Minister Payne’s office) 0429 531 143
  • Defence Media (02) 6127 1999

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7 March 2017

In a major project milestone for the Australian Defence Force and United States Air Force (USAF), the relocated C-Band Space Surveillance Radar System has reached Full Operational Capability (FOC).

Minister for Defence Senator the Hon Marise Payne said this joint initiative between the USAF and Australia will enable us to better protect our nation’s important space-based capabilities.

“The C-Band radar operated from Harold E. Holt Naval Communication Station near Exmouth, Western Australia, is the first low-earth orbit space surveillance network sensor in the Southern Hemisphere,” Minister Payne said.

The C-Band Space Surveillance Radar System was previously based in Antigua where it was used by the United States for telemetry tracking of space launches from Cape Canaveral.

“The C-Band radar system was gradually relocated to Harold E. Holt from 2014 and operates as a sensor node in the US global Space Surveillance Network.

“In its new location the radar provides both southern and eastern hemisphere coverage that will lead to improved positional accuracies and predictions.

“It can accurately track several hundred objects a day and identify space debris and satellites,” Minister Payne said.

“The relocation of the radar has occurred on schedule thanks to the close cooperation between Defence’s Capability Acquisition and Sustainment Group and the USAF.”

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