Perth International Telecommunications Centre – Landsdale
Telstra’s Perth International Telecommunications Centre, in the suburb of Landsdale, is the site of satellite downlink and tracking facilities for both the European European Space Tracking (ESTRACK) system, and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA). One of the satellite two dishes operated by JAXA provides a downlink for Japan’s suite of military surveillance satellites, known as Information Gathering Satellites. Data processed by this network is directed to the Cabinet Satellite Intelligence Centre (??????????) within the Cabinet Intelligence and Research Office (???????).
Location: 31°48?21?S 115°53?16?E
Satellite Ground Stations: Australia-Japan Joint Venture, Alexander Downer, Minister for Foreign Affairs, Media Release FA157, 16 October 2001
I am pleased to announce that two satellite ground stations will be built at Telstra’s Perth International Telecommunications Centre under a contract between the National Space Development Agency (NASDA) of Japan and a Telstra joint venture company ‘Xantic’. The ground stations will communicate with six Japanese satellites, two of which will have a scientific, research, and commercial function, while the other four are information gathering satellites.
The first ground station will support the two scientific, research and commercial satellites. The second ground station will only perform a safety function at the time of the launch and positioning into orbit of the information gathering satellites. Once these satellites are safely in orbit, the latter ground station will be dismantled. The permanent ground station will not perform any function in relation to the information gathering satellites.
The Australian Government has agreed to this arrangement as a practical contribution to our relationship with Japan. Our hosting of the ground stations will further strengthen the economic, political and security aspects of our relationship.
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Perth station, ESTRACK tracking stations network, European Space Agency
Perth station hosts a 15-metre antenna with transmission and reception in both S- and X-band and provides routine support for XMM-Newton and Cluster II, as well as other missions during their Launch and Early Orbit Phase (LEOP). It is located 20 kms north of Perth on the campus of the Perth International Telecommunications Centre (PITC), which is owned by Telstra, and is operated by Xantic BV for ESA. Perth provides routine support to XMM-Newton, Cluster II and other ESA missions. It has also provided LEOP support to other agencies, including France’s space agency (CNES) for Helios-2A and Syracuse-3A.
?????? [Information Gathering Satellite]?????????Wikipedia?
Useful account of the Information Gathering Satellite program, including launch details.
Japan Plans Enhanced Space-Based Missile Alert System, Global Security Newswire, 3 June 2009
The Japanese government plans to make improvements to satellites in order to augment its capability to quickly detect a North Korean missile launch, Reuters reported (see GSN, May 26). The satellite-based early warning system falls under the nation’s recently revised space policy. Tokyo placed four spy satellites into orbit following North Korea’s 1998 missile test, but the data-collection technology has since become outdated. Under the new plan, approved by a panel led by Prime Minister Taro Aso, Japan would increase the quality and quantity of satellite imagery of areas of interest. Tokyo would also seek to improve the efficiency with which information is transmitted, and it plans to create a missile early warning system.
- Whither the Japan-Australia security relationship? — by Peter Batchelor — last modified 19-Dec-2007 1, Desmond Ball, Austral Policy Forum 06-32A 21 September 2006
An important area of cooperation that has recently developed involves Australia’s support for the Japanese space program, and particularly the provision of ground facilities for tracking and controlling Japan’s commercial communications and defence reconnaissance satellites. The first step in this area was purely commercial, and involved the use of the Lockheed Martin Telemetry, Tracking and Control (TT & C) station at Uralla, near Armidale, NSW, to track and control the Japanese N-SAT-110 telecommunications satellite, launched on 6 October 2000, which provides direct television broadcasting services covering Japan ‘and nearby regions’.
The much more important facility in terms of Australia-Japan security cooperation is the satellite ground station at Landsdale in Perth, WA. It was established in 2001-02 by Japan’s National Space Development Agency (NASDA), following an agreement reached with the Australian Government in October 2001, consists of two ‘giant’ parabolic dish antennas, and is ‘operated remotely from Japan’.  One of the dishes is for supporting ‘Japanese satellites carrying out scientific, research and commercial functions’, and the other supports Japan’s imaging intelligence (IMINT) or ‘information-gathering’ satellite program.
The NASDA/JDA reconnaissance satellite program will consist initially of four satellites – two with electro-optical cameras (with a 1-metre resolution) and two with microwave-radar sensors for recording images through cloud and at night (with a 1.3-metre resolution), which operate in north-south polar orbits at an altitude of about 500 km. The publicised purpose of the program is to monitor North Korea, but it also collects imagery over China and Russia as well as other areas of intelligence interest. The first two satellites (one optical and the other radar-imaging) were launched on 28 March 2003. The second pair was destroyed when the launch vehicle failed in August 2003, and production and launch of replacements are still a few years away. The ground control station is located at Kitaura in Ibaraki prefecture, about 80 km northeast of Tokyo. A new organisation, the Cabinet Satellite Intelligence Centre, was set up in Tokyo to analyse the reconnaissance data. The primary role of the Landsdale station is to support the insertion of the satellites into the correct orbital position and their maintenance at the desired altitude through their operational lifetimes. The station also provides a capacity for sending tasking commands to the satellites as they proceed on south-north orbits over Australia towards their area of direct interest and for relaying imagery collected on north-south orbits back to Tokyo.
WA stations help launch Japanese spy satellites, Brendan Nicholson, SundayAge, 30 March 2003.
An Australian ground station has helped Japan position two spy satellites to monitor North Korea’s developing ballistic missile system. The first satellites in a Japanese Defence Agency network were launched from Japan’s Tanegashima Space Centre on Friday and positioned with the help of a temporary ground station in Western Australia. The network will provide immediate warning of missile launches by North Korea, regarded across Asia as a security threat in its own right and because of its willingness to sell missile technology to third parties. Two ground stations have been built at Telstra’s Perth International Telecommunications Centre under a contract between Japan’s National Space Development Agency and a Telstra joint venture company, Xantic. According to Foreign Minister Alexander Downer’s office, one station was built to support Japanese satellites carrying out scientific, research and commercial functions. The other was a temporary station set up to help get four “information-gathering” satellites into space and to position them accurately in orbit. The Sunday Age revealed in February last year that the information-gathering satellites would comprise a spy network for the Japanese Defence Agency. They would be controlled and operated from Japan.
Graham Edwards (Member for Cowan), House of Representatives, Commonwealth Parliamentary Debates,13 February 2002.
Japan plans WA spy base: green light for Landsdale station to monitor six satellites’, West Australian, 17 October 2001
Project coordinator: Richard Tanter
5 May 2010