US Air Force approves Lockheed Martin’s Space Fence System design


LM Space Fence System design

The US Air Force has deemed the design of the Space Fence System developed by Lockheed Martin to be technically mature.

The Critical Design Review (CDR) for the next-generation space surveillance system conducted by the government representatives lasted for three days, following which it was indicated that the system will be able to meet all the specified requirements.

The Space Fence S-band radar system has been designed to detect, track, and catalog orbital objects in space over 1.5 million times daily in order to predict and prevent space-based collisions.

Lockheed Martin had to deliver around 21,000 pages of design documents prior to the CDR and undergo an eight-day design walkthrough in order to ensure that the system meets the performance requirements.

The CDR event was conducted with a small-scale demonstration system which was developed with end-item components.

Lockheed Martin Mission Systems and Training vice-president for Advanced Systems Steve Bruce said: "Completion of CDR marks the end of the design phase and the start of radar production and facility construction of the Space Fence system.

"Once complete, Space Fence will deliver revolutionary capability to the US Air Force with a flexible system capable of adapting to future missions requiring new tracking and coverage approaches."

"Once complete, Space Fence will deliver revolutionary capability to the US Air Force with a flexible system capable of adapting to future missions requiring new tracking and coverage approaches.

"We look forward to continuing our successful partnerships with the US Air Force Space and Missile Systems Center, Life-Cycle Management Center and Space Command."

The firm has used the latest monolithic microwave integrated circuit technology, including Gallium Nitride (GaN) semiconductor materials, for the Space Fence radar open architecture design.

GaN can deliver multiple advantages to active phased array radar systems, which includes higher power density, improved efficiency and better reliability than previous technologies.


Image: Space Fence facility on Kwajalein Island. Photo: courtesy of Lockheed Martin Corporation.