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Defence partners with industry to utilise Woomera launch site

Defence Minister Christopher Pyne has announced a partnership between defence and industry as part of SpaceFest 2019 to enhance the unique space capabilities required by Defence.

Defence Minister Christopher Pyne has announced a partnership between defence and industry as part of SpaceFest 2019 to enhance the unique space capabilities required by Defence.

Defence is partnering with industry to develop Defence’s space capability at SpaceFest 2019, a Defence-sponsored capability demonstration and equipment trial conducted by Defence Science and Technology (DST) on behalf of the Royal Australian Air Force, supported by Plan Jericho.

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Minister Pyne said SpaceFest 2019 provided Defence an opportunity to observe Australian industry and university space surveillance capabilities first-hand. 

"Participants will complete a series of trials designed by Defence Science and Technology to assess their ability to detect and track objects in space, which will inform future capability decisions. The Woomera Test Range within the Woomera Prohibited Area in South Australia was selected as the site to conduct this activity and capability trial," Minister Pyne explained. 

The Woomera Prohibited Area (WPA) is a globally unique military testing range. It covers 122,188 square kilometres in north-west South Australia, about 450 kilometres north-west of Adelaide. It is the largest land testing range in the world, the WPA is mainly South Australian Crown land covered by pastoral leases, exploration and mining tenements and native title.

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The WPA is a Prohibited Area regulated by legislation and is a Defence premise used for the testing of war materiel under the management of the Royal Australian Air Force. The WPA is an important Defence capability and testing and evaluation asset that plays a significant role in Australia’s national security.

The WPA comprises extensive lands north of the Indian Pacific railway, from north of Watson in the south-west up to its north-west corner in the Great Victoria Desert (that stretches across the SA-WA border), across to Coober Pedy, and west of Roxby Downs down to Woomera in the south-east.

"The area has a low-risk of electromagnetic interference, and clear visibility conditions with reduced risk of cloud, which is helpful when testing optical sensors. Defence is also seeking to partner with industry on existing and emerging space surveillance capabilities through a request for tender, which is currently open to industry through AusTender," Minister Pyne added. 

SpaceFest 2019 industry participants include: EOS Space Systems, HEO Robotics, Inovor Technologies, Lockheed Martin Australia, Silentium Defence, Western Sydney University (WSU), Curtin University and DST.

SpaceFest 2019 will take place from 18-29 March 2019.

Defence partners with industry to utilise Woomera launch site
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