The newest branch of the U.S. military is wasting no time making its presence known as it prepares to deploy its Space Fence, according to Popular Mechanics.
Space Fence is a radar system designed to track objects in orbit as small as four inches in diameter. It is a significant upgrade over the previous system, which could only track objects in low-Earth orbit, or 99 to 1,200 miles. Space Fence, on the other hand, can track objects in medium-Earth orbit (up to 22,000 miles) and geosynchronous orbit (beyond 22,000 miles). While the old system could track up to 2,000 objects, Spence Fence should be able “to detect five to ten times more.”
As space flights become more common, debris poses a serious risk to spacecraft. Everyone remembers the catastrophes that happen in Sandra Bullock’s Gravity, and Space Fence should help spacecraft avoid those circumstances.
The new radar system will also be able to track Russian and Chinese satellites, “predicting when their satellites will be over the United States and U.S. forces abroad.” Space Fence is based on the remote Kwajalein Atoll in the South Pacific and could be online as early as this month.