The US Air Force has awarded a contract for concept development for the Space Fence, a radar system to detect and report objects and debris orbiting the earth.

The Space Fence will enhance the Air Force’s situational awareness in space, specifically, since the legacy systems in the space surveillance network (SSN) have been retired.

The contract includes prototyping, design, trade studies and analysis of potential system configurations, concluding with a system design review and final prototyping demonstration.

The contract also includes site and facility surveys, and planning and development of net-centric approaches to integrate with the existing architecture of the SSN.

The preliminary design review and other processes will take place later and the radar system’s initial operational capability is scheduled for 2015.