U.S., Australia Sign Deal on Surveillance Telescope

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The United States and Australia have finalized the specifics of an agreement to relocate a U.S.-built space surveillance telescope to western Australia, the U.S. Department of State announced Nov. 20.

Plans to relocate the optical telescope, developed by the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, were first disclosed in November 2012. The countries also disclosed at that time plans to relocate a U.S. C-band space surveillance radar to western Australia in 2014.

The memorandum of understanding on the optical telescope arrangement was signed Nov. 20 in Washington by U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel and Australian Defence Minister David Johnston. The countries will jointly operate the telescope, designed to track objects in geostationary orbit, beginning in 2016, the State Department said.

“This telescope provides highly accurate detection, tracking, and identification of deep space objects, and will further strengthen our existing space cooperation,” Hagel said in remarks to reporters.