The Australian Department of Defence’s (DoD) Defence Capability Acquisition and Sustainment Group (CASG) has taken over ownership of a new building for a space surveillance telescope.

Located in Exmouth, Western Australia, the space surveillance telescope building was handed over by the Defence Estate and Infrastructure Group (E&IG) following completion of construction.

The completion of the building marks a significant milestone in the country’s Project AIR 3029 Phase 2, intended to relocate the space surveillance telescope from a site in New Mexico, US.

The telescope is set to be remotely operated in the new building by the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) in collaboration with the US.

Installation of the telescope will be carried out to meet initial operating capability in 2021.

The telescope will be used by the RAAF to monitor orbiting satellites, space debris, and near-Earth asteroids.

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By GlobalData

RAAF chief of airforce air marshal Leo Davies noted that the telescope will enhance the capacity to detect and track objects in space.

Davies said: “These A$97.2m ($67.21m) 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.

“Airforce is working with Australian industry and educational institutions to build domestic space surveillance capability for Australia.”

“The telescope will be used to monitor orbiting satellites, space debris, and near-Earth asteroids.”

The project involved the construction of a 270t rotating dome enclosure and supporting facilities.

Australian firm Hofmann Engineering handled the design and manufacture of the track and bogie mechanisms to allow the dome to rotate so that it offers 360° views of the night sky.

Sitzler Construction was the prime contractor for the construction of the facilities, while Aurecon served as the project manager.