Space watch hub for Exmouth

Exmouth will become an international hub for space surveillance with Britain and Canada joining the US to share data from a new high-tech radar.

Defence Minister David Johnston announced yesterday that Australia and the three nations had signed an agreement aimed at keeping track of satellites and the thousands of pieces of space junk orbiting Earth.

The US is installing a C-band radar and space telescope at the Harold E. Holt naval base at Exmouth.

The equipment is due to be operational in 2017. Australia and the US agreed to share operation and costs for the base under a deal signed in Washington between Senator Johnston and US Defence Secretary Chuck Hagel late last year.

Senator Johnston said the partnership would help the allied nations better co-ordinate their "space capabilities" and help avoid satellite collisions.

"Access to space is increasingly important, not only for national security purposes, but also for many technologies that underpin modern economies and daily life, including stock exchange and credit card transactions," he said.

The West Australian

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