Sunday, November 21, 2010

AN/FPS-129 (Globus II)

Also called Globus II, the AN/FPS-129 HAVE STARE is an X-band (10 GHz), narrow beam tracking radar, which is used by the Norwegian Intelligence Service. The AN/FPS-129 has a transmitter power output of 200 Kw and is able to see objects far away, since the combination of the antenna and a relatively high frequency gives a concentrated narrow antenna beam, that makes it possible for the energy to be used with maximum effect. Located at Vardø, Norway, the Globus II has a mechanically steered, parabolic reflector antenna of center-feed type, 27 meters in diameter and housed in a 35-meter diameter radome.

Aside from watching space, the AN/FPS-129 has two main tasks: 1) to gather metric data from satellites, which is used by the US Space Command to produce and maintain the Space Catalog that contains orbit data on all man-made objects in outer space; 2) to create high-resolution radar imagery by selected objects in space. Globus-II can observe satellites in geosynchronous orbit at ranges of some 40,000 kilometers from where the radar is deployed. Thus, the Globus II contributes to the US Space Surveillance Network (SSN), filling a gap in the space surveillance coverage. Data acquired by AN/FPS-129 also contributes to the orbital database maintained by the US Space Command. Information from this database is made publicly available by NASA via the Internet.