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Space Fence uses advanced console server to monitor power

By Max Burkhalter
January 17, 2011
According to a recent report from the Daily Galaxy, the U.S. Air Force is sponsoring a new signal array that monitors items in the planet's orbit. The Space Fence, a technology deployed by Northrop Grumman, is designed to monitor debris floating around in the Earth, and uses advanced IOLAN console servers that support the system's power supplies.

The report said years of abandoned and failed space projects have left hundreds of thousands of pieces of debris floating within the near-Earth orbit on the outer edges of the planet's atmosphere. Each of these objects boasts substantial explosive power, and the orbital space station has had to take evasive maneuvers on multiple occasions to avoid running into the space trash. Over time, the ring of trash could essentially form into a wall surrounding our planet and preventing interstellar travel.

The new Space Fence transmits a radio-based signal into the planet's orbit to track debris. As a result, shuttles, satellites and other objects launched into orbit should be able to negotiate the ring of trash currently surrounding Earth safely.

The S-Band Space Fence is the result of the Air Force and Department of Defense's commission to Northrop Grumman. The company has since established nine sites in regions across the entirety of the southern United States, according to Currently, Australia is the leading international site for Space Fence deployments, but the U.S. is also considering two undiscolsed locations.

The fence works in three phases. Initially, transmitter and receiver stations gather data through satellite radar reflection. That information is then sent through a communications array to the Mission Processing System in Virginia. Processors at the Virginia site then perform satellite detection and predict the location of debris. The final stage takes place when the Mission Processing System stores and regularly updates the location of items in Earth's orbit.

"We are addressing a key mission, which signifies a leap forward in space situation awareness capability from that available today," said Rich Davis, director of special projects at Northrop Grumman's advanced concepts and technology division. "The new Space Fence system will provide better accuracy and faster detection while allowing us to increase the number of satellites and other space objects that can be detected and tracked, thus avoiding collision and damage to other satellites."

The end result of current efforts in the Space Fence program, according to, is the official recognition of more than 9,000 items currently floating in the Earth's orbit. Data on these items has been logged in the Alternate Space Control Center, which is capable of monitoring the debris and noting any changes to current patterns, such as new items in orbit. As a result, the catalog can monitor all of the orbital debris, identifying the specific location of items in space at any time.

Serial to Ethernetdevices are not only having a significant impact on major government projects, they are also supporting the transition from the IPv4 standard to the new IPv6 protocol. According to a recent ZDNet report, IPv6 is becoming critical because the IPv4 standard is close to running out of new IP addresses. As a result, IPv6 is necessary to allow new computers, mobile phones and other products to access the internet.

IPv6 also offers a number of benefits, the report said, such as automatically creating new IP addresses for activated devices. The new standard can also improve networking speed by multicasting transmissions to such devices as serial to Ethernet terminal servers, routers and switches, the report said.


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