US Space Fence Passes Air Force Critical Design Review – Satellite Today

Space Fence

Space Fence will use S-band ground-based radars to provide the Air Force with detection, tracking and accurate measurement of space objects, primarily in low-earth orbit. Photo: Lockheed Martin

[Via Satellite 10-01-2015] Lockheed Martin has approval to start building the U.S. Air Force’s Space Fence, having successfully completed a three-day Critical Design Review (CDR). Government officials reviewed Lockheed Martin’s S-band radar system design at the company’s Moorestown, NJ facility, deeming the project technically mature.

“Completion of CDR marks the end of the design phase and the start of radar production and facility construction of the Space Fence system,” said Steve Bruce, vice president for advanced systems at Lockheed Martin’s Mission Systems and Training business. “Once complete, Space Fence will deliver revolutionary capability to the U.S. Air Force with a flexible system capable of adapting to future missions requiring new tracking and coverage approaches.”

The Space Fence is designed to detect, track, and catalog orbital objects in space more than 1.5 million times a day to predict and prevent space-based collisions. Lockheed Martin is using monolithic microwave integrated circuit technology, including Gallium Nitride (GaN) semiconductor materials for higher power density, greater efficiency and significantly improved reliability for active phased array radar systems.

Lockheed Martin broke ground on the new six-acre Space Fence site earlier this year on Kwajalein Island, 2,100 miles southwest of Honolulu. The company cited challenges in the construction process due to both the remoteness and historical significance of the location. The project is slated for completion in late 2018. Lockheed Martin won the Space Fence contract over Raytheon in June 2014.

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