Lockheed Martin’s “Non-Operational” Space Fence Detects Indian Anti-Satellite Operations While Still in Test Mode

Space Fence site in the Marshall Islands (Image courtesy: Lockheed Martin Corporation)

A breakup field from a recent Indian anti-satellite test was detected by the Lockheed Martin -developed U.S. Air Force  Space Fence  system. The Space Fence, which is still in its testing phase and not yet operations, was un-cued and not expecting the off-nominal occurrence created by a recent “scheduled endurance exercise” by the government of India.

But when India’s MICROSAT-R was scheduled to pass through the surveillance fence, Space Fence’s gallium nitride-powered S-band ground-based radars detected multiple objects within proximity of each other and issued an automatic “breakup alert.” The system also observed a significant amount of debris tracks surrounding the time of the event crossing labeled as uncorrelated targets.

William Kucinski  is content editor at SAE International, Aerospace Products Group in Warrendale, Pa. Previously, he worked as a writer at the NASA Safety Center in Cleveland, Ohio and was responsible for writing the agency’s System Failure Case Studies. His interests include literally anything that has to do with space, past and present military aircraft, and propulsion technology.

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