Go-ahead given on advanced ground-based radar system – a “Space Fence.” Credit: Lockheed Martin

Go-ahead given on advanced ground-based radar system – a “Space Fence.”
Credit: Lockheed Martin

The U.S. Air Force has awarded to Lockheed Martin a five-year $914.7 million contract to build an advanced ground-based radar system – a “Space Fence.”

Lockheed Martin beat out Raytheon for the new network of ground-based radars.

This radar system will be sited on the Kwajelein Atoll to improve the ability to identify and track objects in space.

Construction of the new Space Fence system on Kwajalein Atoll in the Marshall Islands is slated to begin in the fall of 2014 to meet the program’s 2018 initial operational capability goal.

The system’s design incorporates a scalable, solid-state S-band radar with a higher wavelength frequency capable of detecting much smaller objects than the Air Force’s current system. This improves accuracy, quickens response time and expands surveillance coverage.

Space clutter

Utilizing this powerful, new ground-based radar, Space Fence will enhance the way the U.S. detects, tracks, measures and catalogs orbiting objects and space debris with improved accuracy, better timeliness and increased surveillance coverage.

There is much to do given the on-going and growing orbital debris problem: Debris from space collisions, tossed away rocket stages, dead or dying spacecraft.

Fast-moving “space junk” orbiting the Earth can be lethal to spacecraft and satellites in their path.

Lockheed Martin will deliver up to two advanced S-band phased array radars for the Space Fence program. The Space Fence radar system will greatly improve Space Situational Awareness of the existing Space Surveillance Network.

Critical services threatened

Critical services are being threatened by space clutter that circles Earth, said Dale Bennett, executive vice president of Lockheed Martin’s Mission Systems and Training business.

“Space Fence will locate and track these objects with more precision than ever before to help the Air Force transform space situational awareness from being reactive to predictive,” Bennett said in a press statement.

For a video on Space Fence, go to:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7SJdN90vT04

Also, zoom in on this infograhic at:

http://www.lockheedmartin.com/us/products/space-fence/space-fence-infographic.html

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