Keeping Legacy Sensors "in the Fight"
“At L3Harris, we like to say that America’s space superiority is in our DNA,” says Chris Forseth, vice president and general manager of L3Harris’ Space Superiority business unit. “It’s the result of 20 years of continuously supporting the Space Superiority mission and keeping our nation’s worldwide space situational awareness infrastructure up, running, and—most importantly—actively working to protect our nation.”
Among L3Harris’ Space Superiority assignments is the sustainment of the United States’ worldwide network of ground-based space control, missile warning and missile defense sensors under the System Engineering and Sustainment Integrator (SENSOR) contract. These radar and optical systems are critical to the U.S.'s strategic posture and directly support Air Force Space Command and U.S. Strategic Command mission areas, including space situational awareness sensors and data and tactical warning and missile defense tracking.
Through SENSOR, L3Harris routinely delivers solutions across mission and sustaining engineering, contractor logistics support, large-scale modernizations, and cybersecurity engineering projects. Recently, our team captured two time-lapse videos of major sustaining engineering projects that ensure space situational awareness weapon systems remain viable well into the future.
The first video (below) shows the cover system replacement for the AN/FPS-85 phased array radar, located at site C-6, Eglin Air Force Base, Florida. The radar tracks near- and deep-space objects. The cover system provides up to 10 years of environmental protection for the antenna elements with no degrading of radar performance.
The second video (below) captures the installation of refurbished mounts at the White Sands Missile Range’s Ground-based Electro-Optical Deep Space Surveillance (GEODSS) system in Socorro, New Mexico. This massive effort required not only the replacement of system mounts—each weighing approximately 16,700 pounds—but also the removal and re-installation of the telescope and dome—a combined weight of approximately 8,000 pounds—for each replaced mount.