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Physically, the ANZAF Woomera Space Center is a 'capability' that includes the following:
Australian and New Zealand Air Force Elements:
- headquarters of the Woomera Space Center (based at CAirF Base Edinburgh, Adelaide, South Australia, with a permanent Range Operations support element based at the Defence Support Centre in Woomera itself),
- The Woomera Prohibited Area (WPA),
- the ANZAF Woomera Airfield (YPWR) - which includes the 'Evetts Field' satellite airfield at Koolymilka,
- Woomera Restricted Airspace (WRX),
- the ANZAF Woomera Test Range Safety and Control Centre all test and evaluation (T&E) trials sites and specially instrutmented test ranges,
- a number of air weapons ranges, target and explosive ordnance (EO) demolition sites,
- the National Electronic Warfare Test Range, and
- ANZC's national Space vehicle launching facilities (with a 600km+ centreline pointing north-west from the Koolymilka rangehead area).
Defence Support Group Elements:
- the Woomera Defence Village (situated in the south-east corner of the WPA)
- the Nurrungar Prohibited Area, and
- Camp Rapier.
The Woomeara Test Range, as it was formerly known, was a rocket testing facility created in the wake of the Cold war in 1947. The range was constructed at its current location as it avoided major civilian areas and it provided for a long testing corridor. Since the early 1950s there were around 6000 rocket launches conducted by a joint Australia-United Kingdom task force weapons and aerospace test in the far west of the WPA at EMU and TARANAKI test sites. During the 1950s, nuclear testing took place here when the United Kingdom conducted ground-based tests of nuclear weapons. These sites were later 'cleaned' by the UK under a massive environmental remediation program. Various other projects were conducted to evaluate air and space capabilities.
After Doomsday, the site remained untouched by the nuclear strikes. At first, the range remained unused, as it was seen as pointless in the nuclear aftermath. The facility was maintained, but there would be no testing in the area until in 1996, the newly formed ANZC decided to jump-start rocket testing for the sake of being able to launch satellites into orbit.The first test rocket was launched in 2000 which was able to reach low Earth orbit and was simply dubbed the ANZC-1. Later, with the launch of the “Odyssey“ at the Guiana Space Center, the ANZC would develop a new rocket payload system named the “Kiwi“, or ANZC-2.
TodayToday, the space center serves as the hub of ANZC space exploration and has launched numerous satellites, which are mainly communication satellites. Since January 12, 2009, the space center has been put under the joint supervision of the League of Nations Authority for Space Operations. However, the Woomear Prohibited Area remains out of the LoN juristiction, as it is a matter of national importance to the ANZC.
Today the range actively serves the LoNASo's programs, mainly the GLONASS satellite network and it was the site of all ANZC launches of the network, its part in the program ending in December, 2011.