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US-Australia Space Surveillance Telescope Achieves IOC Status; Gen. John Raymond Quoted

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The U.S. Space Force and the Australian defense department issued an initial operational capability declaration Friday for a ground-based military telescope being used to monitor deep-space objects.

The Space Surveillance Telescope is designed to capture images of faint objects in geosynchronous orbit and is located at Harold E. Holt, a joint naval communication station in Western Australia, the Space Systems Command said Friday.

“Reaching initial operational capability is a major achievement that underscores the importance of working together to secure the ultimate high ground,” said Gen. John “Jay” Raymond, chief of space operations at USSF and a 2022 Wash100 Award recipient.

“I’m impressed at how far we’ve come together and look forward to continuing our close partnership as we work toward full operational capability.”

SSC will maintain ownership, oversight and management of the system, while Australia will continue to provide services related to training, operators, facilities and infrastructure.

MIT Lincoln Laboratory originally built the infrastructure on the White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico with Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency funds between 2002 and 2011.

The U.S. and Australian governments transferred SST to its current location under a memorandum of understanding signed in 2013.