• More than 500,000 pieces of debris, or “space junk,” are tracked as they orbit the Earth. They all travel at speeds up to 17,500 mph, fast enough for a relatively small piece of orbital debris to damage a satellite or a spacecraft.
     More than 500,000 pieces of debris, or “space junk,” are tracked as they orbit the Earth. They all travel at speeds up to 17,500 mph, fast enough for a relatively small piece of orbital debris to damage a satellite or a spacecraft.

Space Fence Completes Critical Design Review

September 28, 2015
By George I. Seffers
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Construction of the world’s largest digital phased array radar kicks off on Kwajalein Island.


The Space Fence System, including the large-scale digital radar and turn-key facility, were deemed technically mature and provided evidence that all requirements will be met through the program's critical design review (CDR) conducted by the U.S. Air Force, Lockheed Martin, the prime contractor on the program, has announced. 

The Space Fence S-band radar system design will detect, track and catalog space debris more than 1.5 million times a day to predict and prevent space-based collisions. The three-day CDR featured the demonstration of a small-scale system built with end-item components that detected and tracked orbiting space objects. 

The Space Fence radar open architecture design uses monolithic microwave integrated circuit technology, including gallium nitride (GaN) semiconductor materials. GaN provides a number of significant advantages for active phased array radar systems, including higher power density, greater efficiency and significantly improved reliability over previous technologies.

In addition to engineering the radar arrays, the Lockheed Martin team also broke ground on the new six-acre Space Fence site earlier this year on Kwajalein Island, 2,100 miles southwest of Honolulu. 

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