Lockheed Martin’s Space Fence prototype control center.
Credit: Lockheed Martin

Air Force receives bids for debris-tracking Space Fence

Posted: November 14, 2012

Lockheed Martin and Raytheon have submitted bids to the U.S. Air Force for construction of a network of radars to scan the sky and detect small fragments of space debris with unprecedented precision.

The defense contractors are competing for a contract worth up to $3.5 billion to build the radars under the Air Force’s Space Fence program, which aims for a ten-fold improvement in space tracking capability over the Air Force Space Surveillance System radar network, which has been operational since 1961.

The Air Force has paid each company $137 million since 2009 to work on designs for the Space Fence. Lockheed Martin and Raytheon developed working prototype radars to demonstrate the concepts could detect objects in space.

“Raytheon’s Space Fence solution will track more than 150,000 pieces of unaccounted space debris that threaten manned space flight and the satellites we all rely on for many critical services, including accurate weather forecasts, navigation and financial transactions,” said David Gulla, Raytheon vice president of global integrated sensors.

Read more: Spaceflight Now | Breaking News | Air Force receives bids for debris-tracking Space Fence.

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