1st Space Operations Squadron

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1st Space Operations Squadron
Air Force Space Command.png
Active 1961-1976; 1987-present
Country  United States
Branch  United States Air Force
Role On-orbit Command and Control
Part of Air Force Space Command
Garrison/HQ Schriever Air Force Base, Colorado
Motto(s) Always in Control
Decorations Air Force Outstanding Unit Award[1]
Insignia
1st Space Operations Squadron emblem (approved 12 November 1993)[1][note 1] 1st Space Operations Squadron.png

The United States Air Force's 1st Space Operations Squadron is a space operations unit located at Schriever Air Force Base, Colorado. The squadron is also responsible for performance launch, on-orbit, emergency, end-of-life testing and disposal operations providing warning, navigation, R&D, surveillance and weather to the president and the Secretary of Defense, Joint Chiefs of Staff and nine combatant commanders worldwide.[2]

Mission[edit]

The squadron conducts command and control for four distinct constellations: Defense Support Program (DSP), Midcourse Space Experiment (MSX) and a NASA research and development (NASA R&D) program, in low earth to deep space orbits, and is Air Force Space Command's only multi-mission Satellite Operations Control Center.[3] 1 SOPS is supported by the Air Force Reserves unit, the 7th Space Operations Squadron.

The squadron operates and maintains 24-hour Air Force Satellite Control Network command and control capability for Defense Support Program and Midcourse Space Experiment constellations. 1st SOPS also operates and maintains a research and development space system providing vital space weather data worldwide.[3]

1st SOPS performs launch and early-orbit operations for GPS and DSP systems including satellite activation, initial checkout and transfer to mission orbit. 1st SOPS plans and executes tracking, telemetry and commanding functions for GPS, DSP, MXS and a NASA R&D satellite to maintain spacecraft state-of-health, sustain on-orbit operations and accomplish mission taskings. They respond to all satellite emergencies, and support end-of-life testing and disposal operations for GPS, DSP and MSX and R&D spacecraft as required.[3]

The squadron maintains DSP spacecraft positional knowledge and distributes data to worldwide users. 1st SOPS also completes 100 percent of MSX and R&D training and evaluation.

The Multi-Mission Space Operations Center (MMSOC) is a revolutionary approach to space operations—an operations center focused on forging a one-of-a-kind operations/acquisition team to demonstrate and field emerging space missions and satellite C2 technologies in a rapid, decisive manner. The MMSOC is structured to operate a variety of satellite missions, including satellite initiatives without a program office, satellite missions of small scale (small constellations), new missions transitioning from concept toward full-scale operations, and all research, development, test and evaluation satellites with operational utility remaining after test and evaluation are complete.

Mission control crew shifts conduct 24-hour operations supporting the three major functions of satellite control; telemetry, tracking and commanding. Orbital analysts and program engineers provide program specific knowledge and support to the crews. The operators perform pre-contact planning, real time contact and post-contact evaluation. The squadron conducts more than 2,000 contacts a month.

History[edit]

1 SOPS was originally activated February 14, 1961, as the 1st Aerospace Control Squadron, which was in operation until April 1976. Tracked all satellites, carrier rockets, debris, and space probes, controlling a global network of ground sensors. They did not perform on-orbit command and control of satellites. They were the operational version of research and development Project Space Track. Part of the USAF Air Defense Command at Ent AFB, they were the Spacetrack component of NORAD's Space Detection and Tracking System SPADATS. 1st Aero achieved full operational status in early July 1961. At Vandenberg AFB, the United States Space Surveillance Network (SPACETRACK), currently performs these satellite tracking functions.)

On October 5, 1987, the squadron was reactivated, renamed the 1st Satellite Control Squadron, and began its ever-growing satellite control mission. On February 16, 1988, the squadron began its first commanding on the DSP constellation.

The Space Operations Center (SOC) was operationally turned over to AFSPC on December 21, 1989. The SOC increased its mission on February 20, 1990, when the Defense Meteorological Satellite Program mission was operationally turned over. In May 1996, satellite command authority for the first research and development satellite controlled by AFSPC, Technology for Autonomous Operational Survivability, was given to 1st SOPS.

On December 4, 1998, the squadron assumed command and control capability on the Midcourse Space Experiment, which became an operational program on October 1, 2000, with the first-ever transfer of operations from the Ballistic Missile Defense Organization to AFSPC.

Operated Space Detection and Tracking System Center, tracking and cataloging man-made objects in space, 1961-1976. Satellite command and control for the NAVSTAR Global Positioning System, the Defense Meteorological Satellite Program, and the Defense Support Program, 1987-.

Lineage[edit]

  • Constituted as the 1st Aerospace Surveillance and Control Squadron and activated on 6 February 1961 (not organized)
Organized on 14 February 1961
Redesignated 1st Aerospace Control Squadron on 1 July 1962
Inactivated on 21 April 1976
  • Redesignated 1st Satellite Control Squadron on 25 September 1987
Activated on 5 October 1987[4]
Redesignated 1st Space Operations Squadron on 30 January 1992[1]

Assignments[edit]

Stations[edit]

  • Ent Air Force Base, Colorado, 14 February 1961
  • Cheyenne Mountain Complex, Colorado, April 1966 - 21 April 1976
  • Falcon Air Fore Station (later Falcon Air Force Base, Schriever Air Force Base, Colorado, 5 October 1987 – present[1]

Spacecraft Operated[edit]

Commanders[edit]

  • Lt Col Allen Payne (?–1992)
  • Lt Col Robert "Bob" Hooten (Colonel, Ret) (1992–1994)
  • Lt Col Evan "Hoops" Hoapili (Colonel, Ret) (1994–1996)
  • Lt Col John "Jack" Anthony (Colonel, Ret) (1996–1998)
  • Lt Col Burke E. Wilson (July 2002 – July 2003)[6]
  • Lt Col Steven Lootens
  • Lt Col Craig Bomberg
  • Lt Col Toby Doran
  • Lt Col Casey Beard (Current)

Awards[edit]

Award streamer Award Dates Notes
Air Force Outstanding Unit Award Streamer.jpg Air Force Outstanding Unit Award 1 June 1961–15 September 1963 1st Aerospace Surveillance and Control Squadron[1]
Air Force Outstanding Unit Award Streamer.jpg Air Force Outstanding Unit Award 1 June 1973-30 June 1974 1st Aerospace Surveillance and Control Squadron[1]
Air Force Outstanding Unit Award Streamer.jpg Air Force Outstanding Unit Award 1 December 1987–30 November 1989 1st Satellite Control Squadron[1]
Air Force Outstanding Unit Award Streamer.jpg Air Force Outstanding Unit Award 1 September 1990–31 August 1991 1st Satellite Control Squadron[1]
Air Force Outstanding Unit Award Streamer.jpg Air Force Outstanding Unit Award 11 September 1993 – 31 August 1995 1st Space Operations Squadron[7]
Air Force Outstanding Unit Award Streamer.jpg Air Force Outstanding Unit Award 1 October 2000–1 October 2001 1st Space Operations Squadron[1]
Air Force Outstanding Unit Award Streamer.jpg Air Force Outstanding Unit Award 1 October 2001-1 October 2002 1st Space Operations Squadron[1]
Air Force Outstanding Unit Award Streamer.jpg Air Force Outstanding Unit Award 2 October 2002–2 October 2003 1st Space Operations Squadron[1]
Air Force Outstanding Unit Award Streamer.jpg Air Force Outstanding Unit Award 1 October 2007–30 September 2009 1st Space Operations Squadron[7]

References[edit]

Notes
  1. ^ On a disc Azure, three bars arched to base or, superimposed at fess point by a stylized satellite of the like charged with a mullet of the first between in fess two polestars and pointing to chief a flight symbol at honor point all argent.
Notes
  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l Robertson, Patsy (September 6, 2012). "Factsheet 1 Space Operations Squadron (AFSPC)". Air Force Historical Research Agency. Retrieved May 19, 2017. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h "Schriever AFB Library Fact Sheets: 1st Space Operations Squadron". 50th Space Wing Public Affairs. April 16, 2015. Archived from the original on March 3, 2016. Retrieved May 19, 2017. 
  3. ^ a b c PatriotFiles.com: 1st Space Operations Squadron Factsheet
  4. ^ Saunders, Randy (27 June 2007). "From 'Master of the Sky' to 'Master of Space': 50th TFW gains new life, new mission in ultimate high ground". 50th Space Wing History Office. Archived from the original on 5 April 2014. Retrieved 2 December 2016. 
  5. ^ Marren, Kristi (July 22, 2008). "APL-Operated Midcourse Space Experiment Ends". Space Mart. Archived from the original on 13 May 2009. Retrieved May 19, 2017. 
  6. ^ "Kirtland Air Force Base Library: Biographies Colonel Burke E. "Ed" Wilson". 377th Air Base Wing Public Affairs. October 2009. Archived from the original on February 10, 2012. Retrieved May 19, 2017. 
  7. ^ a b "Air Force Personnel Services: Unit Awards". Air Force Personnel Center. Retrieved May 19, 2017.  (search)

External links[edit]