Lockheed Martin has partnered with Electro Optic Systems to set up a space object tracking facility in Western Australia.

Featuring lasers and sensitive optical systems, the facility will detect, track and characterise man-made debris objects and provide a detailed picture of space debris.

Electro-optical technologies will complement radar-based systems such as the US Air Force’s Space Fence, which will clear the sky and track around 200,000 objects.

The new facility will target specific objects and determine their speed, direction, as well as identify the materials they are made of.

"We’ll offer customers a clearer picture of the objects that could endanger their satellites."

Lockheed Martin Space Systems executive vice-president Rick Ambrose said: "Ground-based space situational awareness is a growing priority for government and commercial organisations around the world that need to protect their investments in space.

"Through this agreement with Electro Optic Systems, we’ll offer customers a clearer picture of the objects that could endanger their satellites, and do so with great precision and cost-effectiveness."

Electro Optic Systems CEO Ben Greene said: "The partnership with Lockheed Martin will help both organisations establish a global network of space sensors, while simultaneously increasing the market reach of the partners’ data and services.

"We consider the strategic partnership with Lockheed Martin a major step towards the achievement of critical mass of sensors, data and services, all of which are critical in providing detailed yet easily usable information on space debris."

Electro Optic Systems is engaged in the development of various space-related technologies, including telescopes and beam directors.

The company operates the Space Research Centre, a satellite laser ranging and debris tracking facility, at Mt Stromlo in the Australian Capital Territory.

Defence Technology