[SatNews] Space Fence is designed to provide assured coverage at Low Earth Orbit for objects as small as 10 centimeters.
Officials from the Missile Systems Center and Lockheed Martin's Mission Systems and Trainingg recently participated in a formal ground breaking ceremony on Kwajalein Atoll to kick off a 36-month long construction effort to build the Space Fence radar system. The ceremony was held, February 10.
Space Fence is designed to provide assured coverage at Low Earth Orbit for objects as small as 10 centimeters. The system will also support cued searches and uncued surveillance at Medium Earth Orbit and above. The increased Space Fence sensitivity, coupled with the improved computing capabilities of the JSpOC Mission System, will yield a greater understanding of the space operating environment and its associated threats.
"The Air Force is pleased to partner with Lockheed Martin in providing a system that will transform how we view the space operational environment," said David Madden, SMC's executive director.
Space Fence will significantly improve space situational awareness by more accurately detecting and tracking objects such as commercial and military satellites and space debris. "Space is becoming more congested and contested so it is critical that we deliver this system on time and on schedule," Madden said.
The Air Force Life Cycle Management Center, located at Hanscon AFB, Massachusetts, awarded the engineering, manufacturing and design contract valued at $914 million to Lockheed Martin on June 2, 2014. Lockheed Martin and their subcontractors AMEC, GDST, Merrimac Industries, Wolf Creek and San Juan Construction will be working on Kwajalein with activities ranging from power generation, communications and radome installation and facility construction. Approximately 250 workers will live on the island during construction.
Once the construction is complete, the Air Force will conduct system acceptance testing. The projected date for the system's initial operational capability is January 2019.