Lockheed Martin (NYSE:LMT) has been awarded a $107 million contract by the U.S. Air Force to continue with the next phase of a program intended to enhance space safety awareness of both manned and unmanned space operations.
Space Fence will replace the existing Air Force Space Surveillance System, or VHF Fence, which has been in service since the early 1960s. Adverse to the current system, which is located in the U.S., the new radars will be placed at strategic sites around the world to expand global surveillance covered into the Southern hemisphere.
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The Bethesda, Md-based company will further develop and prototype its ground-based radar system over the next 18-months in preparation for a final production contract next year.
“Our Space Fence design will provide the Air Force with more time to react to events potentially impacting our space assets and missions – such as collisions with space debris – before they happen,” John Morse, director of the Space Fence program, said in a statement.
The government contractor was one of three industry teams in June of 2009 to be awarded a $30 million contract to begin concept development for Space Fence.