by Richard Tomkins
Wortham, Texas (UPI) Apr 8, 2016
The construction and walk-through of a 7,000 square-foot ground radar array structure for the Space Fence system has been completed by General Dynamics.
The 700,000-pound steel structure will now be disassembled, packed and shipped to Kwajalein Atoll in the Marshall Islands, where it will be re-assembled for the U.S. Air Force project to monitor and track space debris orbiting the Earth.
"The ground-based receive array is an elegant merger of a huge physical structure built with the precision of a complex scientific or medical instrument," said Mike DiBiase, a vice president and general manager of General Dynamics Mission Systems.
"The SATCOM Technologies-built array has the sensitivity to locate, identify and track objects as small as a softball, hundreds of miles above the Earth's surface."
The structure stands nearly 39 feet tall and is about the size of two regulation NBA basketball courts side-by-side. It is designed to withstand earthquakes, hurricane force winds and extremes in temperature and humidity while maintaining a consistent surface flatness that varies less than one millimeter from one end of the structure to the other and from side-to-side, General Dynamics said.
To prepare the structure for transport, workers at General Dynamics SATCOM Technologies will map the structure in detail. The components will be carefully wrapped and arranged so that the reconstructed array will be identical to the structure completed in Wortham.
Space Fence is expected to be operational in 2018. Lockheed Martin is the project's prime contractor.
Space Technology News - Applications and Research
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