Space Fence Ceases Operations

The 21st Space Wing at Peterson AFB, Colo., ceased operations of the Air Force Space Surveillance System, marking the end of more than five decades of it detecting and tracking objects in orbit as part of the nation’s broader space-surveillance network. Air Force Space Command announced in August that it would have to shutter the system, dubbed the space fence, come Oct. 1 due to resource constraints caused by budget sequestration. The fence consisted of nine sites in the southern part of the United States. AFSPC closed two of the fence’s three transmitter sites in April; on Oct. 1, it shuttered the remaining transmitter and the six receiver stations and inactivated the 20th Space Control Squadron, Det. 1, at Dahlgren, Va., according to an Oct. 9 Peterson release. In lieu of the space fence, other Air Force space sensors are picking up the space-monitoring slack. AFSPC expects to save more than $14 million per year, beginning in this fiscal year, by not operating the fence, states the release. (Peterson report by 1st Lt. Stacy Glaus)