Lt. Gen. Stephen Whiting: Space Force Needs More Sensors to Track Satellites, Debris

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Lt. Gen. Stephen Whiting
Lt. Gen. Stephen Whiting Commander Space Operations Command

Lt. Gen. Stephen Whiting, head of Space Operations Command, said the U.S. Space Force needs additional sensors to monitor the increasing numbers of satellites and space debris but faces uncertainty when it comes to securing funds for programs like the Space Fence 2 site in Australia, Breaking Defense reported Wednesday.

“We definitely want more sensors, and so Space Fence, a second site, would be outstanding,” Whiting told reporters at a symposium Wednesday. “But we still have more requirements than dollars, and so we’re having to make some some some difficult calls there.”

Space Fence is an S-band radar that is now part of the service’s Space Surveillance Network and is designed to detect satellites and debris in low-Earth orbit. He said the service is now tracking 35,000 space objects through SSN, reflecting a 22 percent increase in the last two years.

“Certainly I would say the majority of that growth has come from the mega-constellations that we now see, and a few debris causing events that have happened on orbit,” Whiting said.

He also mentioned the Deep Space Advanced Radar Capability program and the Space Force’s efforts to work with allies to enhance space domain awareness.

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