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Space The Military Science Technology

Prototype Space Fence Now Tracking Actual Orbital Debris 33

Posted by Soulskill
from the neither-a-fence-nor-in-space dept.
coondoggie writes "Lockheed Martin says the prototype system it is developing to track all manner of space debris is now tracking actual orbiting space objects. The Space Fence prototype includes new ground-based radars and other technologies to enhance the way the U.S. detects, tracks, measures and catalogs orbiting objects and space debris with improved accuracy, better timeliness and increased surveillance coverage. 'Space Fence will detect, track and catalog over 200,000 orbiting objects and help transform space situational awareness from being reactive to predictive. The Air Force will have more time to anticipate events potentially impacting space assets and missions. Our net-centric design approach allows Space Fence to be easily integrated into the broader U.S. Space Surveillance Network of sensors already operated by the Air Force.'"
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Prototype Space Fence Now Tracking Actual Orbital Debris

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  • by Animats (122034) on Friday March 09, 2012 @06:39PM (#39306789) Homepage

    This "fence" system, like some earlier fence systems, is called that because it's a bistatic (or multistatic) radar. The transmitters and receivers are at different locations, and the transmitted beam is not steered. Targets are located by time differences between what's received at multiple receivers. The previous system [] had three transmitter sites and six receiver sites, spread across the US.

    Fence systems are somewhat specialized, but a good way to find everything that crosses the fence volume. Once the RF gear is in place, it's mostly a processing problem. Unlike regular radars, there's no useful information without correlating multiple receiving stations.

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