BAE Systems has been awarded contract extensions to continue maintenance for the US Air Force Space Command’s (AFSPC) space radars and telescope systems, which are used for missile warning and space surveillance operations.

Awarded by the 21st Space Wing, the three contracts are valued at more than $60m, covering the supply of sustainment services for the solid state phased array radar system (SSPARS), perimeter acquisition radar attack characterization system (PARCS) and the ground-based electro-optical deep space surveillance system (GEODSS).

BAE Systems Aerospace Solutions’ vice president and general manager Gordon Eldridge said the contract work is critical for national security, communications and space research missions.

The programme’s previous success demonstrates the company’s strong capabilities in facilities management and O&M for critical US infrastructure assets, Eldridge added.

"As part of the first $49m contract, the company will continue support for SSPARS, which is a complex network of radars."

As part of the first $49m contract, the company will continue support for SSPARS, which is a complex network of radars tracking approximately 10,000 objects orbiting Earth, in order to prevent their collision with satellites and the International Space Station (ISS).

Capable of conducting 40,000 space observations each day, the radar has been maintained by BAE from Cape Cod Air Force Station in Massachusetts, Beale Air Force Base in California and Clear Air Force Station in Alaska, in the United States, along with Thule Air Base in Greenland and Royal Air Force Fylingdales in the United Kingdom, since 2006.

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The second $7m contract extension is for maintenance of PARCS radar, which is located at Cavalier Air Force Station in North Dakota, US, to perform similar missions as SSPARS, which has been supported by the company since 2003.

As part of a separate $5.5m award, the company will also support the GEODSS, which uses telescopes, low-light cameras and computers instead of radars for detection, tracking and reporting of man-made objects present further from Earth, at about 3,000m and beyond.

This system is maintained by BAE from Maui, Hawaii, Socorro, New Mexico, US, and the island of Diego Garcia, and has been since 2009.

Image: The USAF’s radar and telescope systems detect and identify active or inactive satellites, rocket parts and other debris. Photo courtesy of BAE Systems.