The RAAF has announced the first cadre of air surveillance operators (ASO) for the ADF’s new space surveillance telescope (SST) completed their training on the new capability in late April.
Posted to the No 1 Remote Sensor Unit (1RSU) based at RAAF Base Edinburgh, the ASOs will operate the SST which is located at the Harold E Holt Communication Station at Exmouth in Western Australia. The SST is designed to build space domain awareness by detecting and cataloguing satellites and debris in geosynchronous orbit.
The SST was designed by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Lincoln Laboratory, and was reconstructed at Exmouth after being moved there from the White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico, USA. Acquired under Project AIR 3029 Phase 2, the SST is now co-located with a C-Band radar, and both are operated in conjunction with the United States Space Force (USSF).
“Visiting the site of the telescope in May, I had the incredible opportunity to witness first-hand, along with my fellow aviators, what 1RSU and the wider Air Force are looking to achieve within the space domain,” LACW Amy Clements said in a release. “As an operator, I am really excited to have the opportunity to work with this incredible technology and support this enhanced space capability for Air Force.”
Commanding Officer 1RSU WGCDR Richard Harrison said the SST’s observations would contribute to the ADF’s space domain awareness and that of allies. “The establishment of the SST capability marks an impressive milestone for our unit and more broadly, Air Force’s collaboration with the US and other agencies within the space sector,” he said.
The SST is scheduled to achieve an Initial Operational Capability (IOC) in 2022.