Space

December 21, 2012

Space Fence program moving forward

Tags:
Patty Welsh
Hanscom AFB, Mass.


The Air Force Life Cycle Management Center at Hanscom Air Force Base, Mass., recently put out a request for proposal to move the Space Fence program forward.

Space Fence will be a system of up to two land-based radars, the first site located at Kwajalein Atoll in the Marshall Islands, to track objects entering Earth’s orbit. According to program officials, it will form the foundation of improved space situational awareness by expanding the ability to detect, track, identify and characterize orbiting objects such as commercial and military satellites, smaller objects, maneuvering satellites, break-up events and lower inclination objects.

“Space situational awareness is a continual concern and challenge for U.S. and ally nations,” said Ken Francois, Space Fence program manager. “The Space Fence program will increase the capability to provide predictability in reducing the chance of a collision or attack.”

The RFP is for the final development and construction of the Space Fence Operations Center, Site 1, and an option for Site 2. It is a full and open competition that will conclude with a contract award, currently anticipated in spring 2013. The award will bring the program forward to final system development, fielding and initial operational capability.

During a Defense Acquisition Board held in August, some changes were made to the program’s acquisition strategy.

“The most significant change is that we are moving to an incremental approach. Increment 1 includes the Space Operations Center and Site 1 facilities construction and radar build,” said Francois. “Increment 2 includes Site 2 and system integration. This approach maximizes our efficient use of resources and will allow us to reduce costs to the Defense Department and the Air Force, ultimately saving money for the taxpayer.”

A lot of previous work got the program to this point.

In early 2011, awards were made to Lockheed Martin and Raytheon for an 18-month period of performance to develop preliminary system designs and prototypes and conduct radar performance analyses, evaluations and other technical activities.

As part of that, two preliminary design reviews for the Space Fence program were completed with final events demonstrating working radar prototypes capable of detecting and tracking a resident space object.

“The PDRs were conducted through a series of four detailed incremental reviews, leading up to the two-day final events,” said Francois. “This approach was used so the government could review various aspects of the designs over time and provide timely feedback on any issues.”

The incremental reviews included overall system design and architecture, radar hardware and software configuration items, allocated baseline, logistics, facilities, test, modeling and simulation along with the radar prototype demonstration. Following the reviews, the contractors worked on risk reduction activities and design maturation.

“All the work up to now and as we go forward is so we can ensure the mature technologies that are needed are available and to reduce risks associated with the program,” said Francois.

Initial operational capability for Space Fence is anticipated in 2017 and full operational capability in 2020.




All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


 
 

 
Image courtesy of NASA/JPL-Caltech

NASA’s WISE spacecraft discovers most luminous galaxy in universe

Image courtesy of NASA/JPL-Caltech This artist’s concept depicts the current record holder for the most luminous galaxy in the universe. The galaxy, WISE J224607.57-052635.0, is erupting with light equal to more than 300 ...
 
 

Air Force launches hush-hush mini-shuttle into space

A mysterious space plane rocketed into orbit May 20, carrying no crew but a full load of technology experiments. The Air Force launched its unmanned mini-shuttle late morning, May 20. An Atlas V rocket lifted it up and out over the Atlantic. This is the fourth flight for the military research program, which is shrouded...
 
 
Image courtesy NASA TV

Critical NASA research returns to Earth aboard U.S. SpaceX Dragon spacecraft

Image courtesy NASA TV The SpaceX Dragon cargo spacecraft was released from the International Space Station’s robotic arm at 7:04 a.m., EDT, May 21. The capsule then performed a series of departure burns and maneuvers to ...
 

 

NASA, Canadian agency renew agreement to reduce aviation icing risks

On hand to sign the renewal agreement May 21 at the NRC offices in Ottawa, Ontario, were Jaiwon Shin, associate administrator of NASA’s Aeronautics Research Mission Directorate in Washington, and Ian Potter, the NRC’s vice-president of engineering. “The combined efforts of our two agencies will help solve some of the most difficult and challenging weather-related...
 
 
ULA photograph

Space and Missile Systems Center successfully launches the AFSPC-5 mission

ULA photograph An Atlas V rocket successfully launches the AFSPC-5 mission from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla., May 20, 2015.   The Air Force and its mission partners successfully launched the AFSPC-5 mission aboar...
 
 

NASA’s CubeSat initiative aids in testing of technology for solar sails in space

With help from NASA, a small research satellite to test technology for in-space solar propulsion launched into space May 20 aboard an Atlas V rocket from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla., as part of the agency’s CubeSat Launch Initiative. The Atlas V sent the U.S. Air Force’s X-37B space plane on its fourth mission,...
 




0 Comments


Be the first to comment!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>