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​The Space Fence testing facility in New Jersey is representative of the larger system under construction on the Marshall Islands, which will transform the way the Air Force monitors thousands of pieces of orbital debris in space. Lockheed Martin photo.

​Lockheed Martin has opened a Space Fence test site in Moorestown, N.J., that will allow for testing of the system’s hardware and software while the actual, six-acre site is being built on Kwajalein Atoll in the Pacific Ocean, the company announced Monday. The Space Fence will use S-band ground-based radar to detect and track objects and debris in space to prevent collisions, and will replace the existing Air Force Space Surveillance System. "We are one step closer to dramatically improving space situational awareness and increasing orbital debris monitoring by tenfold,” said Bruce Schafhauser, Lockheed Martin’s space fence program director, according to the release. A scaled-down version of the Space Fence system first tracked a satellite at the end of January, according to an earlier Lockheed release. Initial operational capability is scheduled for late 2018.