Space Fence Project Advances

The Air Force has issued a request for proposals for the next phase of the Space Fence program, a critical component of the nation’s future space situational awareness network. For this upcoming phase, Electronic Systems Center officials at Hanscom AFB, Mass., will award up to two, 18-month, preliminary design review contracts worth up to $214 million in total. This work will pave the way for a subsequent production contract with one vendor to supply the fence, which is slated to begin operations in 2015. The Space Fence will comprise multiple S-band ground-based radars—the exact number yet to be determined—that detect, track, and accurately measure orbiting space objects, including much smaller sized microsatellites and debris than is currently possible. It will replace the 1960s-era VHF-based Air Force Space Surveillance System. (Hanscom report by Chuck Paone)