Space Fence radar test site opens in New Jersey

MOORESTOWN, New Jersey. Lockheed Martin officials announced the opening of a Space Fence radar array test site in Moorestown, New Jersey. This facility is representative of the larger Gallium Nitride (GaN)-based system now under construction on the Marshall Islands, specifically Kwajalein Island. The U.S. Air Force Space Fence will monitor objects in space.

The test facility will be used for early validation of hardware, software, and firmware that will allow the Space Fence to detect, track, and catalog orbital objects more than 1.5 million times a day to predict and prevent space-based collisions. The test site will also enable early lessons learned on installation of the S-band ground-based radars, support maintenance training, and enable engineers to test verification procedures.

“By using an open-architecture system, Space Fence can adapt to future missions requiring various tracking and coverage approaches,” says Bruce Schafhauser, director, Lockheed Martin Space Fence.

Within the Space Fence radar design, Lockheed Martin engineers uses the latest monolithic microwave integrated circuit technology, such as Gallium Nitride (GaN) semiconductor materials. GaN enables advantages for active phased array radar systems, such as higher power density, greater efficiency, and improved reliability over previous technologies.

Construction continues at the six-acre Space Fence radar site about 2,100 miles southwest of Honolulu. Forty-five hundred cubic yards of concrete now form the foundation of the sensor site and the start of ring walls (pictured) that will then support the inflatable roof permeable by RF bands.

Once construction is complete, Space Fence will then be tested and validated before its Initial Operating Capability happens in late 2018.

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