Space Fence radar proposal from Lockheed Martin submitted to Air ForceNews
November 14, 2012
MOORESTOWN, N.J. Lockheed Martin officials have submitted the company’s final contract proposal to construct the Space Fence radar, which will enhance how the U.S. Air Force tracks and identifies orbital objects.
Making use of ground-based S-band radar technology, Space Fence will improve the way the U.S. tracks, detects, measures, and catalogs orbiting objects and space debris with greater accuracy, improved timeliness, and increased surveillance coverage. The ground-based radar system will enable the Air Force to decommission the U.S.-based Air Force Space Surveillance System, which was originally installed in 1961.
The Air Force Space Surveillance System wasn’t designed to detect and track all the hundreds of thousands of smaller, orbiting objects in space today, says Steve Bruce, vice president for space surveillance systems at Lockheed Martin’s Mission Systems & Sensors business. These objects potentially threaten the International Space Station (ISS), future manned space flight missions, and critical U.S. satellite assets, he adds.
Air Force officials plan to begin building the first Space Fence site on Kwajalein Atoll in the Marshall Islands next fall to meet the program’s 2017 initial operational capability goal. The value of the contract is estimated at $1.9 billion over a seven-year period.
Lockheed Martin engineers demonstrated the company’s prototype Space Fence radar earlier this year showing it could already detect resident space objects. The Lockheed Martin-led Space Fence team includes General Dynamics, AMEC, and AT&T.