Kwajalein Gets Fenced In

The Air Force will base its first Space Fence radar site on Kwajalein Island in the Marshall Islands, announced Air Force space officials on Sept. 25. Construction of this site is scheduled to start in September 2013 and take 48 months to complete, leading to the site commencing initial operations in Fiscal 2017, according to the service’s release. Lockheed Martin and Raytheon have been maturing their respective Space Fence designs. The Air Force is expected to select one contractor in early Fiscal 2013 for the engineering and manufacturing development phase of this program, according to service documents posted at the Federal Business Opportunities website. In addition to Kwajalein, the Air Force will potentially establish a second Space Fence site in western Australia that would begin activity in Fiscal 2020, state these documents. The Space Fence will feature an S-band radar system capable of detecting, tracking, identifying, and characterizing space objects in low and medium Earth orbits. It will be able to discern an object the size of a softball orbiting more than 1,200 miles in space, according to the release. The Fence will be part of the Air Force’s overall space surveillance network.