Satel­lites set to spy on bor­ders

The Courier-Mail - - NEWS -

AUS­TRALIA’S border se­cu­rity will get a tech up­grade next year when the coun­try launches a satel­lite with the ca­pac­ity to spy on asy­lum seeker boats or de­tect threats ap­proach­ing by sea.

Three new satel­lites that will as­sist the Aus­tralian De­fence Force are be­ing de­vel­oped by the Univer­sity of New South Wales’ Can­berra space team on a $10 mil­lion Fed­eral Gov­ern­ment con­tract, the ABC re­ports.

De­fence In­dus­try Min­is­ter Christo­pher Pyne told the na­tional broad­caster that data col­lected from the satel­lites could as­sist mil­i­tary spy planes with their work and help de­tect asy­lum seeker boats.

UNSW Can­berra space di­rec­tor Russell Boyce said that the satel­lites would have op­ti­cal tele­scopes and cam­eras, as well as the soft­ware to find ra­dio sig­nals.

“It’s got an on­board ca­pa­bil­ity to lis­ten to ob­jects on the sur­face of the earth, in par­tic­u­lar, we are in­ter­ested in ships, so it’s as­sist­ing the de­fence force in mar­itime sur­veil­lance,” Pro­fes­sor Boyce said.

The re­port comes just days after it was an­nounced Aus­tralia would fi­nally es­tab­lish a space agency.

The first of the three satel­lites, known as Cube­sat, will be launched next year.

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