Inspiring the next generation of space explorers

  • Published
  • By Emily Peacock

Year 5 students (age 10 to 11) from Vale Park Primary School had an out-of-this-world experience when Royal Australian Air Force Leading Aircraftwoman Amy Clements and U.S. Space Force Maj. Dustin O’Donnell visited Dec. 1, 2023, to talk about current space technologies.

Clements, a member of the No. 1 Space Surveillance Unit, and O’Donnell, liaison for Space Delta 2 – Space Domain Awareness and Space Battle Management’s Operating Location Bravo, shared their military journeys with students as well as the vital role satellites play in their daily lives.

“A big item we talked about was the Space Force’s Global Positioning System,” said O’Donnell. “We discussed how GPS made traveling anywhere significantly easier, thanks to the launch of satellites, and how companies like SpaceX’s Starlink make it possible for people to access the internet almost anywhere on the planet, keeping us all connected at all times.”

Additionally, Clements and O’Donnell discussed the on-going partnership between Australia’s Space Command and the USSF, and their use of the Space Surveillance Telescope to detect and track satellites in geostationary orbit over the eastern hemisphere.

From there, Clements and O’Donnell fielded students’ questions.

“We received questions like ‘what is a neutron star?’ and ‘have any satellites ever exploded?’” said O’Donnell. “They were especially excited at the idea of the Space Surveillance Telescope being able to look out into the universe to see different galaxies and nebulas.”

When asked if he had learned anything from the attentive students, O’Donnell circled back to the previous question on neutron stars.

“I had to perform a quick search in order to give them a full and proper answer to what a neutron star is,” admitted O’Donnell. “Safe to say everyone walked away from that visit having learned something new.”

Space Delta 2 – Operating Location Bravo serves as a liaison synchronizing operations between DEL 2 and the Australian Space Command’s 1SSU, which operates the Australian Defence Force’s space domain awareness capabilities. OL-B advises Space Delta 2 leadership on system status and coordinates U.S. support of 1SSU’s space missions. Facilitating communication between 1SSU and U.S. organizations, OL-B integrates 1SSU in exercises, training events, and non-traditional operations.