Space Radar: When Planes Won’t Do
The Space-Based Radar program (now just Space Radar) was an effort to build a constellation of 10 to 24 satellites by 2012 that can duplicate the functions of the E-3 AWACS, E-8 JSTARS, and RC-135 Rivet Joint aircraft, watching aircraft, signals, and even people moving on the ground without requiring overflight rights and with much faster deployment time. In 2005 the program was restructured into something more manageable, with initial partial-capability satellites leading to the first fully capable SR satellite around 2015.
The Headquarters Space and Missile Systems Center at Los Angeles Air Force Base, CA recently issued a pair of contracts for trade studies, modeling and simulation, risk reduction, and technology demonstrations, “exploring a broad trade space of potential Space Radar (SR) solution sets” as they work to come up with design & technology options.
Contracts & Key Events
Dec 18/06: These 2 contract modifications are for trade studies, modeling and simulation, risk reduction, and technology demonstrations, “exploring a broad trade space of potential Space Radar (SR) solution sets” as they work to come up with design & technology options. All are cost-plus-fixed-fee contract modification that maintains existing scope, extends the period of performance through April 2009 and reactivates the Contact Data Requirements Lists (CDRLs).
- Lockheed Martin Corp. in Littleton, CO received a $48.7 million (FA8820-04-C-0001/P00021).
- Northrop Grumman Space Technology in Redondo Beach, CA received a $49 million (FA8820-04-C-0002/P00022).
- SpyFlight – Space Based Radar. Best summary.
- GlobalSecurity.org – Space-Based Radar
- Northrop Grumman CapitolSource – Space Radar. See also regular site profile.
- Space News Business Report (Feb 27/06) – Air Force Begins Work on Advanced Space Radar Technologies. “The efforts are focused on advanced solar-cell and battery technologies that are critical to a key aspect of the Space Radar’s mission – detecting moving ground targets in areas obscured by darkness…”
- Space News Business Report (May 2/05) – Director of Space Radar Office Fears Uphill Battle. “Among Congress’ concerns with the program is that the military and intelligence community have been at odds over the system’s capabilities and how it would operate…”
- SpaceDaily (Feb 9/04) – Lockheed Martin And Northrop Grumman Team Up For Space Satellite Radar Bid