HANSCOM AIR FORCE BASE, Mass.,
A program managed here is now enabling improved identification of objects in space.
In conjunction with
The upgraded imaging will improve the resolution eight times allowing for the recognition of smaller objects with greater resolution.
A simple way to explain it is by comparing the resolution to that from a high-definition television, where the picture is much clearer.
"For example, if an HDTV pixel [size] was eight [units], with the new resolution, it would be at one," said
The system will be a contributing sensor to the Space Surveillance Network for images and data.
"Through this capability, the user community will be able to see things they've never been able to see before with regard to space object identification," said
No other radar has the same capabilities of the dual-band when coupled with the operating frequency, power and bandwidth. The dual-band trial period is ongoing, but so far the program office has received no negative comments from the user community and is awaiting the final assessment from that community.
Robichaud added that the program has been an outstanding success despite having to overcome some significant challenges along the way.
One of those was the discovery of a mechanical design flaw that had been there since 1965, which actually caused the radar's antenna bearing to seize up.
"Through great collaboration, a good engineering team from
Another challenge was the significant construction piece that had to be accomplished prior to even getting to the mechanical and engineering work. The 120-foot radar dish is located inside a 150-foot radome, a weatherproof dome enclosure, and the radome had to be opened in order to replace the antenna. The radome was recapped in 2010 and testing and tuning ran from 2011-2013.
DiCarlo added that to get to the point where the system is now there had to be significant breakthroughs with signal processing, electronics and mechanics. The original radar has been in operation since the 1960s.
"These are items you couldn't buy at
Robichaud added that, according to
All involved believe it was the collaboration between the various leaders, teams and organizations involved that made the project a success.
"The leadership starts at the top and our PEOs, milestone decision authorities and program managers - along with the current team - did a great job making this happen," said Morris.
In fact, the current Hanscom HUSIR team was recently honored with their branch's team of the year award.
"This system will be able to generate the best ISAR (inverse synthetic aperture radar) images of low earth orbit objectives in space for the
66th Air Base Group Public Affairs
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