http://www.spacedaily.com/reports/Western_Australia_To_Host_US_Defense_Space_Base_999.html Western Australia will host a new multimillion-dollar U.S. defense base to spy on foreign satellites and keep watch on dangerous space junk, local media reported on Saturday. Fairfax newspapers reported that U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates is poised to announce the space base when he visits Australia next week with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. As a major expansion of the U.S. military footprint in Australia, the paper said the base is likely to be built at the top secret Harold E Holt Naval communications station at Exmouth of Western Australia. The facility will allow Australia to become a key partner in the international battle for space supremacy. It will have major technology and intelligence spin-offs, putting Australia at the forefront of an emerging battle between nations staking claim for territory in space occupied by 600 billion dollars (588 billion U.S. dollars) of civil and military hardware, Fairfax wrote. According to Australian Defense Minister Stephen Smith, last year's Defense White Paper stated Australia's strategic capability advantage depended on its ability to access space and protect the nation from "foreign exploitation by space-based capabilities". "The U.S. Space Surveillance Network is the principal system Australia and other nations rely on to detect, track and identify objects in space," Smith told Australia Associated Press on Friday. "While no decisions have yet been made, Australia and the United States are discussing the potential for supporting the U.S. Space Surveillance Network and the development of Australia's space situational awareness."