Saturday, September 21, 2013

Space observation plan working

Changes to the existing U.S. space-object tracking network, adopted to replace the recently shuttered Air Force Space Surveillance System, appears to be working. That's what Gen. William Shelton, commander of Air Force Space Command, said at a conference in Hawaii earlier this month. The Air Force expects to save about $14 million a year by shutting down Space Fence, a line of radars stretching across the southern United States and a key part of the overall U.S. Space Surveillance Networks. To compensate for the loss, 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. Shelton said the Air Force has retained certain tracking capabilities that were thought to be unique to the AFSSS. He said that at Eglin there was one day during which the number of observations of space objects doubled. (Source: Space News, 09/20/13) Previous: Space Fence shutting down?; Eglin radar fills gap