South-West joins space race

21/12/2021 - 13:20

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Western Australia’s bid to spearhead the nation's space sector has taken a small step, with California-based LeoLabs eyeing Collie as home for its first low earth orbit radars in the country.

South-West joins space race
LeoLabs plans to build a pair of space radars in Collie. Photo: LeoLabs

Western Australia’s bid to spearhead the nation's space sector has taken a small step, with California-based LeoLabs eyeing Collie as home for its first low earth orbit radars in the country.

The company, which is understood to have four sites and 10 radars internationally, has chosen to build a pair of radars in the Collie area to track debris, satellites and objects in low earth orbit.

The infrastructure will be part of a global network providing comprehensive coverage to provide transparency in low earth orbit, prevent collisions and assist satellite operators to deploy their services safely, according to LeoLabs.

It is also tipped to help further expansion of the sector into Space Situational Awareness (SSA) and debris monitoring.

LeoLabs Australia managing director Terry van Haren said the new radars will act as a "foundation piece" within the space sector in Australia.

“Where we build space radars other elements of the space sector seem to follow,” Mr van Haren said in a statement.

Space has been labelled as a key industry set for further innovation and support according to the state government’s most recent Diversify WA plan.

It is estimated there are more than 70 international and Australian companies operating in space related industries in WA.

Collie shire President Sarah Stanley said the shire was “beyond excited” that Collie has a role to play in WA’s space sector.

“LeoLabs is one of a growing number of businesses at the forefront of technology choosing Collie as a base, ensuring an exciting, sustainable and prosperous future for the region,” she said.

The arrangement is understood to have been coordinated from a federal, state and regional level.

According to a statement from LeoLabs earlier this year, WA’s radars are set to be completed in 2022.

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