Lockheed Martin and the U.S. Air Force have conducted an endurance exercise to test the capability of a new surveillance radar to detect space debris.
The Space Fence radar system released a “breakup alert” after it detected a large amount of debris fields from an anti-satellite test carried out by India to destroy the Microsat-R satellite at approximately 300 kilometers, Lockheed said Wednesday.
Space Fence operators from Lockheed were able to predict and observe debris tracks during the next crossing using the alert and initial orbit determinations formed through long-arc tracking within the orbital debris cloud.
"Although the Space Fence system is still under test, it continues to demonstrate its advanced capabilities providing operationally-relevant information in all orbital regimes from low Earth orbit through geosynchronous Earth orbit," said Rob Smith, vice president and general manager of radar and sensor systems at Lockheed.
“As multiple new mega constellations consisting of thousands of satellites become a reality and the space domain continues to become more congested, the demand for more accurate and timely space situational awareness data will be of the utmost importance to the warfighter,” Smith added.
Lockheed won a potential $914M contract from the Air Force in 2014 to build and install the Space Fence on Kwajalein Atoll in Marshall Islands.