US Space Force declares space surveillance radar site as operational

30 March 2020 (Last Updated March 30th, 2020 12:12)

US Space Force (USSF) has declared the space surveillance radar site Space Fence radar system as operational.

US Space Force declares space surveillance radar site as operational
US Space Force Director of Operations and Communications Brig Gen DeAnna Burt formally declared initial operational capability and operational acceptance of the Space Fence radar system. Credit: Lt Kristen Shimkus.

US Space Force (USSF) has declared the space surveillance radar site Space Fence radar system as operational.

The declaration affirms initial operational capability and operational acceptance of the site.

Located on Kwajalein Island in the Republic of the Marshall Islands, the Space Fence is built to improve space surveillance capabilities.

It will help in tracking commercial and military satellites, depleted rocket boosters, as well as space debris primarily across the low earth orbit. Space Fence will also help in maintaining operational safety of the satellites as well as trigger alerts to warn about potential threats.

USSF Chief of Space Operations and US Space Command Commander General Jay Raymond said: “Space Fence is revolutionising the way we view space by providing timely, precise orbital data on objects that threaten both manned and unmanned military and commercial space assets.

“Our space capabilities are critical to our national defence and way of life, which is why Space Fence is so important to enhance our ability to identify, characterise and track threats to those systems.”

The site became operational nearly six years after Lockheed Martin was contracted to build Space Fence.

The data procured by Space Fence will be fed into the Space Surveillance Network (SSN), which used to track more than 26,000 objects.

Space Fence, as the most sensitive search radar in the SSN, will be operated by the 20th Space Control Squadron (SPCS), Detachment 4, at the Space Fence Operations Center in Alabama.

Subsequently, it will transmit the data to the 18 SPCS located at Vandenberg Air Force Base, California, which will leverage the information to maintain the space object catalogue and screen operational satellites.

20th SPCS commander Lt Col David Tipton said: “Space is now recognised as a congested and contested domain and Space Fence is the next evolution in our efforts to maintain space superiority.”

The 18th SPCS and 20th SPCS are part of the 21st Space Wing, which offers ground-based missile warning, missile defence and space surveillance data to the US and allies.