Green Energy Eyed for Space Fence

Air Force officials are exploring whether they can leverage alternative energy sources to power the Space Fence, the future network of geographically dispersed terrestrial radars that will track space objects and debris. They haven’t yet determined the radars’ ultimate design, but already know that these massive S-Band systems will demand much energy to operate. “That’s why it’s so important to look at various options for producing that required energy,” said Linda Haines, Space Fence program manager. Notional planning calls for at least two, perhaps three, Space Fence sites, with potential locations in Australia, Kwajalein Atoll, and Ascension Island. On Ascension Island, for example, persistent trade winds might make wind power a particularly attractive option, and save much money over the radar’s lifetime. In October, the Air Force released the request for proposal for the Space Fence’s next phase of development. (Hanscom report by Chuck Paone)