Space

United Kingdom a potential site for future U.S. space surveillance radar

The Space Force plans to build a network of 24/7, all-weather ground-based radar sites for space domain awareness.  

WASHINGTON — U.S. Space Force officials have begun discussions with the U.K. government about the possibility of building a deep-space radar site in the United Kingdom, a spokesman confirmed July 22.

The Space Force plans to develop a network of sensors known as the Deep Space Advanced Radar Concept (DARC) to track active satellites and debris beyond geostationary orbit 35,786 kilometers above the Earth. 

The DARC project was started by the U.S. Air Force in 2017. The Space Force describes it as a 24/7, all-weather ground-based radar system for space domain awareness.  

The Space Force recently issued a request for design concepts from contractors. Up to three radar sites could be built in the coming years. One would be in the United States and the other two in other parts of the world. 

Air Chief Marshal Sir Michael Wigston, head of the U.K. Royal Air Force, was recently in the United States for talks over the plans, the Guardian newspaper reported. He said the British were “very interested” in the project and in hosting a U.S. radar station.

A U.S. Space Force spokesman told SpaceNews that no decision has yet been made.

“We have recently started exploratory discussions with the U.K. to determine the potential collaboration opportunities with the Deep Space Advanced Radar Capability,” said the spokesman. 

DARC will have three geographically separated sites around the world, “that will play a key role in moving towards a resilient space enterprise able to deter aggression,” he said. “The DARC program office is working site selection of all three sites in parallel, and has not finalized the location of any sites at this time.”

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