The Air Force has acquired a high-tech Space Surveillance Telescope, or SST, capable of speedily discovering and tracking previously unseen or hard-to-find small objects that could threaten satellites.
The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, or DARPA, on Tuesday transferred ownership of the telescope to Air Force Space Command during a ceremony at White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico.
The Space Surveillance Telescope, currently located in White Sands, will be moved to Australia and jointly operated by the Air Force and the Australian government, with the U.S. as its primary owner, according to an announcement from DARPA.
In 2013, then-U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel and Australian Defence Minister David Johnston signed a Memorandum of Understanding agreeing to move the telescope to the Harold E. Holt Naval Communication Station in Western Australia. At the time, Johnston had to rebut speculation that the telescope would be used to spy on other countries.
“Australia offers a uniquely beneficial vantage point for operational testing and demonstration of SST’s enhanced algorithms and camera,” according to DARPA’s SST page.
After the move, the telescope will be a dedicated sensor in the U.S. Space Surveillance Network.
Read more of this story at Military.com.