HomeNewsArticle Display

Space fence contract awarded

LOS ANGELES AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. (AFNS) -- The Air Force awarded a $914,699,474 contract to Lockheed Martin on June 2, 2014 to develop a system that will track objects in Earth's orbit with far greater confidence and fidelity.

The contract brings the program to final system development with the delivery of Space Fence Increment 1, or site 1, radar and a Space Fence operations center. The projected initial operational capability is fiscal year 2019. The contract also includes an option for procuring a second radar site.

The system will track space objects in Earth's orbit. According to program officials, it will improve space situational awareness by detecting and tracking objects such as commercial and military satellites and debris from break-up events. Coverage will extend down to just above the horizon to handle low-inclination orbits.

"Previously, the Air Force could only track and identify items the size of a basketball," said Dana Whalley, the Space Fence program manager, who is stationed at Hanscom AFB, Mass. "With the new system, we'll be able to identify items down to the size of a softball. This will significantly increase our capability to provide predictive and actionable space situational awareness for the nation."

Space Fence will provide the capability for dedicated uncued surveillance of small objects in low-earth orbit with useful capability in the higher orbit regimes. Uncued detection provides a continuous "curtain" of radar pulses forming a "Fence" that enables detection, tracking and determination of objects' orbits without prior knowledge of their existence or location. This will allow for more timely detections, higher cataloguing accuracy and completeness and will augment launch coverage and aid object characterization. Space Fence will work in conjunction with the Joint Space Operations Center, or JSpOC, to provide an integrated picture of the space operating environment for the warfighter.

"The program will provide knowledge of objects, debris and events that will help us to maintain U.S. and allied space capabilities, protect space assets and prevent potential collisions in near-Earth orbit," Whalley said.

Originally, three contracts were awarded in June 2009 for initial prototyping and risk reduction of the Space Fence system. In the second quarter of 2011, a second full and open competition was held for final preliminary designs and prototyping. That contract was awarded to two offerors: Raytheon and Lockheed Martin. As part of that, two preliminary design reviews for the program were completed with final events demonstrating working radar prototypes capable of detecting and tracking a resident space object.

"This risk reduction acquisition approach was the best way to ensure the technology was at the appropriate maturation level prior to entering the EMD phase," said Whalley.

Space Fence is designed to provide assured coverage at low Earth orbit for objects as small as 10 centimeters. The system will also support cued searches and uncued surveillance at medium Earth orbit and above. The increased Space Fence sensitivity, coupled with the increased computing capabilities of the JSpOC Mission System, will yield a greater understanding of the space operating environment and associated threats.

"By providing a better picture of the space operating environment, Space Fence will greatly improve the Air Force's ability to see and understand that battlespace," said Whalley.

The Air Force Space Command's Space and Missile Systems Center, located at Los Angeles Air Force Base, Calif., is the U.S. Air Force's center of acquisition excellence for acquiring and developing military space systems. Its portfolio includes the Global Positioning System, military satellite communications, defense meteorological satellites, space launch and range systems, satellite control networks, space based infrared systems and space situational awareness capabilities.

(Courtesy of the Space and Missile Systems Center office of public affairs)

Engage

Twitter
Maintaining base readiness 👨‍🚒 👩‍🚒 Firefighters assigned to the 48th Civil Engineering Squadron conducted a joint… https://t.co/mMSCCVSR4U
Twitter
RT @cmsaf_official: Happy Monday! Read this over the weekend. I don’t know about you, but I appreciate & enjoy peace of mind, & peace in li…
Twitter
Delivering rapid air power The 380th Expeditionary Logistics Readiness Squadron conducted hot-pit refueling in sup… https://t.co/6Q0obGCu5q
Twitter
Congratulations, MSgt Roslyn Ball! Ball credits the mentorship and bonds she’s shared with her fellow military tra… https://t.co/z4QZhr8Pek
Twitter
A passion for aviation and space A1C Sourav Basu Roy, an air transportation specialist assigned to the 482nd Fight… https://t.co/hd6hdkYpIa
Twitter
Joint training Two U.S. Air Force B-52H Stratofortress aircraft participated in “Brother’s Shield,” a Colombian Ai… https://t.co/DErzNXkFQM
Twitter
#SundayRead SSgt Elizabeth McJannet-Bratton was crowned Miss Alaska Collegiate 2021; her platform, Combat Boots to… https://t.co/v99jOVmOkZ
Twitter
Celebrating service @USArmy retired Maj. Anthony Grant has given 45 years of service between the Army and Air Forc… https://t.co/Yzz8IWbaXM
Twitter
#AimHigh! TSgt Kayla Castagnetta helps Airmen deploy and creates them as well. She is the only qualified Airman wh… https://t.co/Xg7Z1GErZ4
Twitter
In today’s competency-based approach to Force Development, the #USAF will now be able to capture an Airman’s knowle… https://t.co/Uem2kWikrw
Twitter
Because the 97th Air Mobility Wing’s focus is on training mobility Airmen, the intel flight generates training miss… https://t.co/PG4doMIqvO
Twitter
Col David S. Miller, 377th Air Base Wing commander, recognizes the contributions of Native Americans in honor of Am… https://t.co/8wYjxE8iWO
Twitter
'Tis the season ❄️ Special warfare Airmen conduct training at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska. The small… https://t.co/SGjNKpNdYf
Twitter
RT @USAFCENT: ICYMI: F16s from @Spangdahlem_AB are in the @CENTCOM AoR as part of a dynamic force employment to deter aggression & promote…
Twitter
Air power on display. https://t.co/M5SUj3Gq9K
Twitter
RT @USAFCENT: USAFCENT invests $3 million to upgrade its Combined Air Operations Center at Al Udeid AB, Qatar. The CAOC also touted its dis…
Twitter
Global reach A B-52 Stratofortress flies in formation with F-16 Fighting Falcons and F-15E Strike Eagles during a… https://t.co/nw1bwI08gH
Twitter
The record scoring provides objective data for more informative assignment placement, hiring for special duty posit… https://t.co/zynYnvbMaC
Facebook
The newest Air Force Podcast recently dropped. Listen to a small snippet of CMSAF Kaleth O. Wright talk with Staff Sgt. New about resiliency. Listen to the entire podcast on Youtube: https://go.usa.gov/xpnAD or Subscribe to The Air Force Podcast on iTunes: https://podcasts.apple.com/podcast/the-air-force-podcast/id1264107694?mt=2
Facebook
Our mantra, "Always ready!" It's the spirit we fly by! #B2Tuesday
Facebook
Need some motivation to get your week started off right? Listen as CMSAF Kaleth O. Wright weighs in...
Facebook
The U.S. Air Force Academy gives its cadets some unique opportunities. Ride along one of this opportunities.
Facebook
A United States Air Force KC-135 Stratotanker refuels an F-22 Raptor over northern Iraq, Nov. 6, 2019. U.S. Central Command operations deter adversaries and demonstrate support for allies and partners in the region. (Video by Staff Sgt. Daniel Snider)
Facebook
Although the Silver Star is the third-highest military medal, it's not given often. Today, TSgt Cody Smith was the 49th Special Tactics Airman to receive this medal since Sept. 11th, 2001. Read more of TSgt Smith's amazing story: https://www.airforcespecialtactics.af.mil/News/Article-Display/Article/2024815/special-tactics-airman-battled-through-injuries-awarded-silver-star/fbclid/IwAR2LZWwx1VHdTnQe39rIEBOuJS_0JvMQBBGt7I-E6zsxxn-Lx9387yu43Bc/ Cannon Air Force Base Air Force Special Operations Command United States Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) U.S. Department of Defense (DoD)
Facebook
Tune in as our Air Force musicians along with other military musicians are awarded the National Medal of Arts.
Facebook
Like Us
Twitter
1,314,028
Follow Us