AF to base first 'Space Fence' facility in Pacific
The Air Force will establish a Space Fence radar site on Kwajalein Island in the Republic of the Marshall Islands that will begin operating in fiscal 2017, the service said Sept. 25.
The fence will serve as part of the United States' Space Surveillance Network providing warfighters with the ability to maintain a full and accurate orbital catalog, ensure orbital safety and perform conjunction assessments, the service said in a news release.
The Space Fence is a radar system operating in the S-Band frequency range that performs uncued detection, tracking, measurement and identification of orbiting objects in low- and medium-earth orbits. Its purpose is to enhance space surveillance capabilities to detect and track orbiting objects, such as commercial and military satellites and space debris. The Space Fence's uncued tracking system will provide warning of satellite break-ups, collisions or unexpected maneuvers of satellites.
Space Fence data will be fed to the Joint Space Operations Center at Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif., the Air Force said. Data from the Space Fence radar will be integrated with other Space Surveillance Network data to provide a comprehensive space situational awareness and integrated space picture.
The Air Force Space Command will award a contract to build the radar. Construction of the facility is expected to begin in September 2013 and take 48 months to complete, the service said.
Contractor operations and maintenance support for the radar site will fall under the responsibility of the 21st Space Wing at Peterson Air Force Base, Colo.
William Welsh is the managing editor of Defense Systems. Follow him on Twitter: @WilliamWelsh12.