Lockheed Martin Space Fence Test Facility Opens in New Jersey
[Via Satellite 03-28-2016] Lockheed Martin has established a test site in New Jersey for the U.S. Air Force‘s Space Fence to validate hardware, firmware and software for detection, tracking, and cataloging of orbital objects more than 1.5 million times a day. The test site will also provide early lessons learned on installation of the S-band ground-based radars, support maintenance training and allow engineers to test verification procedures.
Lockheed Martin is using Gallium Nitride (GaN) semiconductor materials within the Space Fence radar design. According to the company, GaN provides significant advantages for active phased array radar systems, including higher power density, greater efficiency and improved reliability over previous technologies.
Construction continues at the final six-acre Space Fence site 2,100 miles southwest of Honolulu, Hawaii, on the remote Kwajalein Island. Forty-five hundred cubic yards of concrete now form the foundation of the sensor site and the start of ring walls that will support an inflatable roof permeable by RF bands. Once construction is complete, Lockheed Martin and the Air Force will test and validate the Space Fence ahead of Initial Operating Capability (IOC), which is scheduled to occur in late 2018.
“We are one step closer to dramatically improving space situational awareness and increasing orbital debris monitoring by tenfold. By using an open-architecture system, Space Fence can adapt to future missions requiring various tracking and coverage approaches,” said Bruce Schafhauser, director of Lockheed Martin Space Fence.