Dipole Antenna, Receiver, Space Surveillance Fence

Display Status:

This object is not on display at the National Air and Space Museum. It is either on loan or in storage.

Collection Item Summary:

This is a spare receiver dipole antenna used in the Space Surveillance Fence. The system's three transmitter stations, located across the southern United States, emitted a continous wave of radio energy in a narrow fan-shaped pattern. Together the beams extended about 5,000 miles from west to east and about 15,000 miles into space. Any object passing through a beam was illuminated and the reflected signals acquired by one or more or the six receiving stations along the same latitude as the transmitting stations. Each of the receiving stations had many hundreds of these antennas. Unclassified and classified catalogs of all known objects in orbit were prepared from data from the Space Surveillance Fence and other sensors.

The Air Force assumed operation of the Space Surveillance Fence from the Navy in 2004. It was decommissioned in 2013, to be replaced by a space-based system.

Mega Industries manufactured the antenna. The Air Force transferred it to the Museum in 2014.