Space Fence Progress

Raytheon and Lockheed Martin completed preliminary design reviews of their competing space fence designs for the Air Force, announced both companies. PDRs allow the Air Force to evaluate the cost, schedule, and technology maturity of each company’s design. “By building a working space fence prototype and employing innovative approaches . . . we demonstrated to the US Air Force a cost-effective system that can track a multitude of small objects in space,” said David Gulla, Raytheon’s vice president of global integrated sensors, in a July 27 release. “Our final system design incorporates a scalable, solid-state S-band radar, with a higher wavelength frequency capable of detecting much smaller objects than the Air Force’s current system,” Lockheed Martin spokesman Chip Eschenfelder told the Daily Report July 30. The would-be space fence suppliers are now waiting on the Air Force to issue a request for proposals sometime this fall for the next phase of the program, during which the winner would build the first of two planned space fence sites, said Eschenfelder. The space fence, a ground-based system to monitor objects in orbit, is slated to commence initial operations around 2017.