MOORESTOWN, N.J., Nov. 14 (UPI) -- Lockheed Martin has given the U.S. Air Force its final proposal for a contract to build Space Fence, a radar system to identify and track orbital objects.
The Air Force plans to begin construction of the first Space Fence site next year in the Marshall Islands.
The seven-year contract it will award for the advanced radar system would be worth an estimated $1.9 billion.
"The original surveillance system (installed in 1961) wasn't designed to detect and track the hundreds of thousands of smaller, orbiting objects that are in space today, potentially threatening the International Space Station, future manned space flight missions and our nation's critical satellite assets," said Steve Bruce, vice president for space surveillance systems at Lockheed Martin's Mission Systems and Sensors business.
"With decades of experience developing powerful S-band radar systems, Lockheed Martin has proposed a scalable and affordable Space Fence solution for the Air Force that will transform space situational awareness."
Space Fence, using new ground-based S-band radar technology, will improve the accuracy and tracking coverage area of space debris. Lockheed this year demonstrated its prototype Space Fence radar.