Radar systems to monitor space junk to be designed by Northrop Grumman

LINTHICUM, Md. July 15, 2009. Engineers at the Northrop Grumman Corp. Electronic Systems segment in Linthicum, Md., are developing global space surveillance radar systems to monitor orbiting space junk and other celestial hazards under terms of the first phase of a $30 million U.S. Air Force contract.

Northrop Grumman will develop the S-Band Space Fence surveillance radar system, which is part of the U.S. Department of Defense's effort to use radar to track and detect space junk, or "resident space objects (RSO)," consisting of thousands of pieces of space debris as well as commercial and military satellites.

The Space Fence radar technology, which will replace the current VHF Air Force Space Surveillance System built in 1961, will provide continuous, network centric space situational awareness by detecting small objects in low and medium Earth orbits. The current system requires constant sustainment intervention to maintain operations and does not address the growing population of small and micro satellites in orbit, Northrop Grumman officials say.

"The Space Fence system will provide better accuracy and faster detection while allowing us to increase the number of satellites and other space objects that can be detected and tracked, thus avoiding collision and damage to other satellites," says Rich Davis, director of special projects at Northrop Grumman's Advanced Concepts and Technology Division.

Australia is a candidate for the first Space Fence location. Two additional sites in other parts of the world are also under consideration. For more information contact Northrop Grumman Electronic Systems online at www.es.northropgrumman.com.

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