Sailors have navigated by the stars since the dawn of time, but now Navy is looking skyward to understand who is observing us.
Deputy Director of Space in the Navy Intelligence and Information Warfare Branch, Lieutenant Commander Ben Piggott, completed the Bundeswehr (German military) space situational awareness course last November.
“It was a great introduction to the fundamentals of how we can use radars and telescopes to collect data on what satellites are doing in space, then turning that data into a picture that we can use for military situational understanding of what is happening in space in the same way a ship’s operations room has access to different sensors that can be used to form a picture that can be used to make decisions," Lieutenant Commander Piggott said.
Held in Luftwaffenkaserne (air force barracks) Wahn, near Cologne, the course introduced students to the fundamentals of space situational awareness.
It was made possible by a relationship the Bundeswehr has with the Technical University of Braunschweig.
The instruction was aimed at a first-year university level.
With a master’s degree in space operations, Lieutenant Commander Piggott was one of 23 military and civilian delegates from around world on the course.
“We needed to get a sense of how worthwhile the training was, and the feasibility of sending more people in the future,” Lieutenant Commander Piggott said.
“It is great to see how Germany and NATO operate in the space environment.
“I was able to make connections that have the potential to create some opportunities for Australia to establish mutually beneficial space technology partnerships with other countries in the future."
There are opportunities for Navy personnel to work in the newly established Space Command, with a number of new positions available.
Lieutenant Commander Piggott said he was excited for the “astonishing” amount of growth around the corner.
“Space systems like satellite communications, earth observation satellites, and GPS are fundamental to enabling our submarines, ships and aircraft to operate effectively – we can’t deliver the full capability of our platforms without space,” Lieutenant Commander Piggott said.