Falcon Telescope

UNSW Canberra: Node of the Falcon Telescope Network

The FTN is a research network of 0.5m f8.1 semi-autonomous optical telescopes sited in collaborating institutions around the globe. The network, sponsored by the USAFA in Colorado, USA, includes nodes in the Northern and Southern Hemisphere, including one at the UNSW Canberra site in Australia used for this investigation.

Optical observation of spaceborne objects  such as debris and the growing Cubesat population, is conducted at UNSW Canberra using the Falcon Telescope Network for the purposes of evaluating the object interaction with the atmosphere. 


UNSW Space Engineering Research

We have engaged in an ambitious endeavor to undertake reliable and repeatable science experiments in-orbit. Our first launch of a satellite is scheduled for November 2016, and the flight systems teams are hard at work engineering the satellite and its payload, as well as future payloads.

To support this and future missions both radio tracking and communications, as well as optical tracking is needed, and the Falcon Telescope Nettork will play an important role in monitoring the health of the satellites from afar.


“firstLight”: Science Technology Engineering Mathematics (STEM) Outreach Project

Calls for STEM use of the node of the FTN in Vicuna, Chile are now active: Registration due 6th May 2016 for 23rd May 2016 observation. 

We would like your students in Primary and Secondary Schools around Australia to participate in an exciting STEM First Light Project where students become scientists and a crucial part of selecting the FTN telescopes’ first STEM images! Classes or school-associated groups will submit proposals expressing which astronomical objects to image on these milestone evenings. Proposing will require initial research by the students on what objects are visible in the night sky at the UNSW node location and current time of year. It will also require students to try their hand at scientific writing as they communicate their proposal idea to others. A class or group may participate in one or many of the first light events in the coming months.









A/Prof Andrew Lambert  +61 2 626 88351




We would like to thank the USAFA for the donation of equipment and participation in the Falcon Telescope Network.



“The U.S. Air Force Academy Falcon Telescope Network”, Francis K. Chun, Roger D. Tippets, Michael E. Dearborn, Kimberlee C. Gresham, Ryan E. Freckleton, Martin W. Douglas, AMOS 2014, , Maui, Hawaii, USA, September 2014.

“Reconstructing from Extended Imagery of Space Objects”, Andrew Lambert and Manuel Cegarra Polo, AMOS2015 Conference, Maui, Hawaii, USA. 13-19 September 2015.

“Real-time astrometry using Phase Congruency,” Andrew Lambert and Manuel Cegarra Polo, AMOS2015 Conference, Maui, Hawaii, USA. 13-19 September 2015.

“Progress in passive Optical Tracking using the Falcon Telescope Network”, A.Lambert and M. Cegarra Polo, 3rd Australian Space Situational Awareness (SSA) Workshop, Australian Space Research Conference, Canberra, Australia, September 2015.