(OT) Space surveillance system developments

From: Allen Thomson (thomsona@flash.net)
Date: Sat Oct 30 2010 - 13:59:33 UTC

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    A couple of news items on developments that may eventually have an effect on Space Track TLEs -- or not.  It's not clear if the Western Australia site would host one of the new S-band radars or some other sensor.
    WA base set to keep eye on space junk
    October 30, 2010 - 6:24PM
    Western Australia is set to host a new multimillion-dollar US defence base to that will help keep watch on dangerous space junk.
    US Defense Secretary Robert Gates is poised to announce the base when he visits Australia next week with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, The West Australian newspaper reported on Saturday.
    It is understood the base is likely to be built at the top secret Harold E Holt Naval communications station [21.818 S, 114.166 E] at Exmouth, in a major expansion of the US military footprint within Australia.
    [Defence Minister Stephen Smith] said "While no decisions have yet been made, Australia and the United States are discussing the potential for supporting the US Space Surveillance Network and the development of Australia's space situational awareness."
    Space Fence design moves into next phase
    Posted 10/28/2010 
    by Chuck Paone
    66th Air Base Group Public Affairs
    10/28/2010 - HANSCOM AIR FORCE BASE, Mass. (AFNS) -- Electronic Systems Center officials released a request for proposal announcement Oct. 20, 2010, for the next phase of a program that will revamp the way space objects and debris are identified and tracked.
    The Space Fence program, with a total anticipated value of more than $3.5 billion, will deliver a system of geographically dispersed ground-based sensors to provide timely assessment of space events, said program manager Linda Haines. 
    The Space Fence will use multiple S-band ground-based radars -- the exact number will depend on operational performance and design considerations -- that will permit uncued detection, tracking and accurate measurement of orbiting space objects. It will replace the Air Force Space Surveillance System, or VHF Fence, that's been in service since 1961. 
    After completion of this phase in 2012, ESC officials expect to award a production contract that will lead to final system development, fielding and full operational capability.
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