New satellite dish to put Australia in prime position

The next stage of the $1.4 billion investment in more reliable, accurate and real-time satellite positioning services for Australia has begun with the construction of SouthPAN’s irst dedicated Australian satellite dish, in regional New South Wales.

The Southern Positioning Augmentation Network (SouthPAN), which was launched by the Minister for Resources and Minister for Northern Australia, Madeleine King in September last year, is now providing better positioning data to a range of users across every major industry in Australia, including agriculture, resources, construction and maritime.

SouthPAN is a joint initiative between Geoscience Australia and Toitū Te Whenua Land Information New Zealand and will offer precise positioning accuracy at as little as 10 centimetres, a significant improvement on previous accuracy of 5 to 10 metres.

SouthPAN provides better positioning accuracy than currently available on your standard mobile phone GPS capability.

It will allow emergency services across Australia to better coordinate rescue efforts - for example, the location of fire trucks and ambulances can be accurately monitored and guided to emergency situations by the most efficient and safest routes.

Minister King said construction of the new uplink processing centre (UPC) had started in Uralla, south of Armidale in regional New South Wales, and would be the first of several pieces of Australian infrastructure dedicated to SouthPAN.

“I’m pleased to announce that construction has now started on an uplink processing centre in Uralla which will consist of a ground control centre and two radio frequency uplinks,” Minister King said.

"Currently, SouthPAN uses existing ground infrastructure, allowing us to provide early open services while the new infrastructure is being built.

“Having infrastructure solely dedicated to SouthPAN will provide important redundancy and resilience, which industry expect from accurate positioning services.”

Warren McDonald, Chief Executive Lockheed Martin Australia and New Zealand welcomed the beginning of construction.

“Under the leadership of Geoscience Australia and Toitū Te Whenua Land Information New Zealand, Lockheed Martin Australia, with our industry partner Av-Comm, we are proud to embark on the construction of SouthPAN's first satellite dish at our Telemetry Tracking and Command Station in Uralla, New South Wales,” Mr McDonald said.

“Not only is it a crucial milestone for the SouthPAN network, which will benefit major parts of our economy like agriculture, construction and transport, but it also embodies our ongoing commitment to growing a long-term and sustainable space presence in Australia."

Michael Cratt, Managing Director Av-Comm said working on this nationally significant project demonstrated the power of partnerships to develop sustainable domestic space capabilities.

“With Av-Comm’s beginnings rooted in developing solutions for the aviation industry, it feels full-circle and appropriate to be embarking on a project like SouthPAN that will improve aviation and maritime safety and other space-enabled industries in Australia and New Zealand.”