Monday, March 17, 2014

AF pressing for Space Fence

The Air Force is pressing ahead with funding and intense support from Congress for the "Space Fence" system to track debris in low-Earth orbit, following delays and cutbacks driven by sequestration. The S-Band radar, commonly called Space Fence, is built to track objects in orbit that are smaller than satellites. Gen. William Shelton, commander of Air Force Space Command, has said the program is critical to the health of military and commercial satellites. It will replace the Air Force Space Surveillance System of VHF radars in place across the southern U.S. Those radars are not capable of tracking objects smaller than 10 centimeters. The Obama administration's fiscal 2015 budget request includes about $214 million for research and development for the Space Fence. When part of the network was shut down due to budget cuts, the Space Command modified operating modes for some of its other space tracking assets, specifically the Perimeter Acquisition Radar Characterization System at Cavalier Air Force Station in North Dakota and the space surveillance radar at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla. (Source: Air Force Times, 03/15/14) Previous: Space Fence shutting down?; Space observation plan working