The U.S. Air Force Space Fence system detected the breakup field from an anti-satellite test conducted by India during a scheduled endurance exercise of the new space surveillance radar.
The agency say that as MICROSAT-R was expected to pass through the un-cued surveillance fence, the sensor (named Space Fence) automatically issued a “breakup alert” indicating there were multiple objects within close proximity.
“Space Fence observed a significant amount of debris tracks surrounding the time of the event crossing labeled as uncorrelated targets. Long-arc tracking was initiated within the orbital debris cloud to form accurate initial orbit determinations. With this information, the system was able to automatically predict and correlate the next crossing time.”
“Although the Space Fence system is still under test, it continues to demonstrate its advanced capabilities providing operationally-relevant information in all orbital regimes from Low Earth Orbit through Geosynchronous Earth Orbit,” said Dr. Rob Smith, vice president and general manager of Radar and Sensor Systems for Lockheed Martin.
“The criticality of space assets to both national defense and the world economy cannot be understated. As multiple new mega constellations consisting of thousands of satellites become a reality and the space domain continues to become more congested, the demand for more accurate and timely space situational awareness data will be of the utmost importance to the warfighter.”
The Space Fence system continues to track objects from the anti-satellite event through the government-led testing phase which began in early April.