PETERSON AFB, Colo., Sept. 27 (UPI) -- Kwajalein Atoll in the Marshall Islands will be the first location for the U.S. Space Fence radar to track objects, including space debris, in Earth orbit.
The U.S. Air Force said construction on the island is expected to start in September 2013 and be completed in 2014. About 10-15 contractor personnel are expected to provide long-term services on Kwajalein after that in support of the Space Fence radar and the facility.
The Space Fence System for detecting, tracking, identifying and characterizing space objects in low and medium Earth orbits is expected to gain initial operating status in 2017.
It will be a highly sensitive, an uncued tracking system that will be able to detect and track an object the size of baseball and provide evidence of satellite break-ups, collisions or unexpected maneuvers of satellites.
The Air Force Space Command, which has headquarters at Peterson Air Force Base, Colo., will be the contracting authority for building the Space Fence System.