By Peter Roberts
One of Australia’s few locally-owned defence prime contractors is in the box seat to respond to a federal government initiative to acquire a ground-based Space Electronic Warfare capability.
Canberra’s Electro Optic Systems Holdings, which coincidentally announced today that a subsidiary had been selected to demonstrate spacecraft to ground communications for the International Space Station (ISS), fits the requirements of the initiative perfectly.
The government has established Defence Project 9358 to explore options for EW capability in the space domain – a requirement set out in the 2020 Defence Strategic Update and the 2020 Force Structure Plan.
Such a capability would detect and deter attempts to interfere with, or attack, our use of the space domain.
Space Electronic Warfare is a capability that does not create debris or damage the space environment.
The defence department said in a statement: “Defence will explore options for a Space Electronic Warfare capability and provide recommendations for a decision by the government.
“This capability would help assure Australia’s continued access to space-based communications, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance.”
Electro Optic Systems is one of Australia’s very few sovereign prime defence contractors and operates in three areas – defence, communications and space technology.
The company has been a pioneer in the detection and destruction of space debris using the the Satellite Laser Ranging observatory at Mt Stromlo (pictured).
Today it announced that its SpaceLink subsidiary had been selected by the Centre for Advancement of Science in Space (CASIS), the manager of the ISS National Laboratory, to demonstrate its end-to-end relay service.
The demonstration will validate the use of a 10 Gigabit per second optical (laser-based) terminal for real voice, video and data exchange between the ISS crew, on-board systems, experiments and terrestrial users.
EOS Communications Systems CEO Grant Tindall said: “Working with CASIS to put optical communications on the ISS is a major milestone for SpaceLink and for the future of the global satellite communications market.
“It is also a landmark agreement for EOS as Australia’s largest space company and supports our vision for optical communications to serve our major customers in both the US and Australia.”
SpaceLink can now advance its proposal for a flight project to the ISS.
EOS entered the space industry in Australia and the US following the acquisition of Brisbane space communications business EM Solutions.
The company has received US approvals to develop space capabilities and is conducting preliminary design work of an initial constellation of satellites to give global communications coverage.
EOS has also revealed it was moving a new directed energy weapon to be used as a ‘drone kill system’ into production – a weapon that also has space potential.
Picture: Electro Optic Systems
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