An enormous hexagonal feature spotted from space on the coastline of Australia was determined to be a jointly run naval station.
The Harold E. Holt naval station, located near the town of Exmouth on Western Australia’s northwest cape, is a secretive naval communication station that can be seen from space due to its enormous hexagon formation.
Operated by the Australian Department of Defence on behalf of both the Australian and United States governments, the station sends radio signals to US Navy and Royal Australian Navy ships and submarines in the western Pacific Ocean and the eastern Indian Ocean.
The station is considered to be the most powerful transmission station in the Southern Hemisphere and is also home to technology operated by the US Department of Defense’s Space Force.
The Space Surveillance Telescope, which was installed at the facility in October of this year after being relocated from the White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico, is used for detecting, tracking, and cataloguing satellites, near-Earth objects and space debris.
Another space surveillance radar is also being installed and will be operated remotely by Royal Australian Air Force personnel once completed. It will provide a ‘space situational awareness capability’, allowing for the tracking of space assets and debris.
The naval station has garnered attention in the past due to its potential interference with aircraft. In 2008, a Qantas plane plunged 200 metres in seconds due to a temporary malfunction, and it was suggested that the powerful radio signals from the station may have caused the glitch in the aircraft’s system.
However, the manager of the base denied that the signals could have caused the malfunction.
Residents of the nearby town of Exmouth, which was built at the same time as the naval station to provide support and housing for families of US Navy personnel, have shared their own stories and experiences with the facility.
While some have visited the base and noted its impressive features, such as its ability to produce its own power and water, others have joked about the mysterious goings-on at the station.
Despite the speculation and intrigue surrounding the Harold E. Holt naval station, its primary function remains the communication and tracking of naval vessels in the region.