DARPA’s Space Surveillance Telescope (SST) is being moved from New Mexico to western Australia.
The telescope, designed to track objects in space, will be moved from the White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico to the Harold E. Holt Naval Communication Station in Exmouth, Western Australia, DARPA said. According to a memorandum of understanding between Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel and Australian Defense Minister David Johnston signed in November, the U.S. Air Force owns the SST, DARPA is responsible for delivering it to Australia, and the Australian government will build the enclosure and operate the telescope.
Data from the SST will be fed into the U.S. Air Force’s Space Surveillance Network, which tracks space objects that might collide with satellites. The SST, which captured its first images in February 2011, “can search an area larger than the continental United States or Australia in seconds and survey the entire geosynchronous belt within its field of view multiple times in one night, an order of magnitude faster than traditional telescopes,” according to DARPA.