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TECH SPACE
Ground broken for Space Fence installation
by Richard Tomkins
Kwajalein Atoll, Marshall Islands (UPI) Mar 24, 2015


disclaimer: image is for illustration purposes only

Construction of facilities for the new Space Fence radar system has been started in the Marshall Islands by the U.S. Air Force and Lockheed Martin.

Space Fence is an S-band ground-based radar system. It will replace the 1960s Air Force Space Surveillance System to track objects in orbit around the Earth and increase the ability to predict and prevent space-based collisions.

"The number of small satellites and satellite operators around the world is skyrocketing, rapidly crowding an environment already congested by the more than 17,000 pieces of space debris that we are able to track today," said Steve Bruce, vice president for Advanced Systems at Lockheed Martin's Mission Systems and Training business. "By comparison, when it comes online in 2018, Space Fence will enable the Air Force to locate and track hundreds of thousands of objects orbiting Earth with more precision than ever before to help reduce the potential for collisions with our critical space-based infrastructure."

The Space Fence operation will be located on Kwajalein Atoll, which is more than 2,100 nautical miles southwest of Honolulu, Hawaii.

Lockheed Martin said this week that a ground breaking ceremony was conducted at the system's future six-acre site in late February. The site will eventually feature radar arrays, an on-site operations center and an annex to the current island power plant.

Lockheed Martin won the $915 million contract last year for building and deploying the radar system. If all contract options were exercised over an eight-year period, the total contract would be worth more than $1.5 billion.

The company's team for Space Fence includes AMEC Foster Wheeler and General Dynamics SATCOM Technologies.

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