'Space Fence' radar operational, tracks objects as small as 10 centimeters

March 30 (UPI) — A radar system known as Space Fence, which can track material in space as small as 10 centimeters, is fully operational, the U.S. Space Force announced.

Using enhanced S-band radar, the Space Fence improves on previous capabilities of the Space Surveillance Network in tracking objects such as commercial and military satellites, depleted rocket boosters and space debris in low, medium, and geosynchronous Earth orbit regimes, Space Force officials said on Friday.

The SSN has tracked 26,000 objects already accounted for in space, and the new system is expected to vastly increase that figure, essentially offering a catalog and location of every object in space.

“Space Fence is revolutionizing the way we view space by providing timely, precise orbital data on objects that threaten both manned and unmanned military and commercial space assets,” said Gen. Jay Raymond, Commander of the U.S. Space Command in the statement.

The radar system’s infrastructure is located on Kwajalein Atoll in the Republic of the Marshall Islands, with headquarters at the Space Fence Operations Center in Huntsville, Ala.

The radar observation technology, designed by Lockheed Martin, can track material in low earth orbit about the size of a marble. It will also detect incidents in space that could harm, for example, GPS satellites or the International Space Station.

A second radar site is planned to go online in 2021.

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