The Air Force will base a Space Fence radar site on Kwajalein Island in the Republic of the Marshall Islands with initial operations capability planned for fiscal 2017.
The Fence will provide a critical Space Surveillance Network capability needed to give warfighters the ability to maintain a full and accurate orbital catalog, ensure orbital safety and perform conjunction assessments.
The Fence will have greater sensitivity, allowing it to detect, track and measure an object the size of a softball orbiting more than 1,200 miles in space. Because it is an uncued tracking system, it will provide evidence of satellite break-ups, collisions or unexpected maneuvers of satellites.
May 23/12: Canadian help. Canada’s Department of National Defence (DND) announces a long-term partnership with the Pentagon on Space Situational Awareness (SSA). Better yet, they’re offering concrete help.
Canada already helps the USA with space surveillance, through the joint use of some NORAD radars with a secondary space-tracking capability. Now, it’s going to add an optical satellite called Sapphire, whose data will be contributed to the U.S. Space Surveillance Network. Sapphire is scheduled for launch later in 2012, atop an Indian Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre at Sriharikota, in southern India.
The Fence will have greater sensitivity, allowing it to detect, track and measure an object the size of a softball orbiting more than 1,200 miles in space.