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Raytheon's Space Fence System Detects and Tracks Space Objects
by Staff Writers
Colorado Springs, CO (SPX) Apr 20, 2012


The Space Fence will track over 200 000 objects.

Raytheon's Space Fence recently completed a comprehensive Preliminary Design Review (PDR) demonstrating the S-band radar's technical maturity in its ability to detect and track the increasing amount of space debris orbiting the Earth.

This debris is proving to be hazardous to the increasing number of military and commercial satellites and other space activity in low and medium orbit, such as the International Space Station.

"We feel confident that Raytheon is offering the U.S. Air Force an affordable, low-risk solution by virtue of mature and advanced technologies we're employing," said David Gulla, vice president of Global Integrated Sensors for Raytheon's Integrated Defense Systems (IDS) business.

"We have applied radar expertise Raytheon has acquired during the past 70 years to build a Space Fence system that detects and tracks resident space objects much smaller than with the system used today."

Held over a three-month period, the PDR allowed Air Force officials to evaluate all aspects of the program to ensure design and technology readiness as the acquisition moves into the final phase later this year. Work on the current phase of the program is expected to conclude the end of July.

The PDR is the culmination of a $107 million U.S. Air Force contract to complete the technology development of a modern space surveillance system serving as the primary means for uncued detection and tracking in low earth orbits, allowing the decommission of the Air Force Space Surveillance System, which has been tracking space debris since the 1960s.

"We're continuing to identify areas where we can increase the value for the Air Force in terms of advances in technology and affordability to meet current and future demands for situational awareness in space," said Scott Spence, program director for Space Fence at Raytheon's IDS business.

Raytheon leads the industry in delivering innovative, affordable and reliable radar solutions, leveraging a 70-year heritage to provide global customers a decisive intelligence edge in all domains.

Raytheon produces the world's broadest range of radar solutions, and continually works to advance radar technologies to deliver enhanced capabilities for warfighters around the world.

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Over the past few years we have endured idea after idea on how to remove space debris. The list is almost endless. There is the ground-based high energy laser that will zap trash right out of space. Tethers can do it better, faster and cheaper. Water sprays are simple and effective. Orbiting trash cans make all kinds of sense. Air bursts are very clean and simple. Nets can collect lots of debris ... read more


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