5th Space Surveillance Squadron

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5th Space Surveillance Squadron
5th Space Surveillance Squadron.png
5th Space Surveillance Squadron emblem
Active 1989-2003
Country United States
Branch United States Air Force
Type Space Surveillance
Role Data Acquisition
Size 132 American/3 British
Part of AFSPC
Garrison/HQ RAF Feltwell, United Kingdom
Decorations Outstanding Unit ribbon.svg AFOUA

The United States Air Force's 5th Space Surveillance Squadron (5 SSS) was a space surveillance unit located at RAF Feltwell, United Kingdom.


The mission of the 5 SSS was to operate the Low Altitude Space Surveillance (LASS) system and Deep Space Tracking System (DSTS) to gather space intelligence and track space systems in both near- and far-Earth orbits.


The dual LASS/DSTS operation supported USAF space intelligence requirements, while being assisted by the 18th Intelligence Squadron's Det 4 for SIGINT support.[1] This coverage augmented worldwide coverage of space signals activities at similarly equipped sites at Misawa AB, Japan, Osan AB, Republic of Korea and at Griffiss AFB in the United States.[2]

The Deep Space Tracking System uses sensitive, highly accurate 20-foot dish antennas to detect and track S-band radio signals transmitted by radio beacons on most satellites. There were DSTS receivers located at Griffiss AFB, New York; RAF Feltwell, Great Britain; and Misawa AB, Japan.[3]

The 5 SSS was inactivated in 2003, with administration of RAF Feltwell transferred to Detachment 4, 18th Intelligence Squadron.

Previous designations[edit]

  • 5th Space Surveillance Squadron (1989–2003)

Bases stationed[edit]


  • Lt Col John Amrine (June 1999-July 2000)[4]
  • Lt Col John W. Raymond (April 2000 - June 2001)[5]
  • Lt Col Steven R. Prebeck (28 September 1996-???)[6]
  • Lt Col James L. Burling, Jr. (August 1994-28 September 1996)

Lt. Col Ronald P. Mitchell (1 Oct 1990 - ??)

Equipment Operated[edit]

  • Low Altitude Space Surveillance (LASS) (1989–2003)
  • Deep Space Tracking System (DSTS) (1989–2003)

See also[edit]



  1. ^ Richelson, J. The US Intelligence Community, 4th Edition
  2. ^ GLOBALSECURITY.ORG: 21st Space Wing
  3. ^ SatObs.org: "US Space Surveillance Network", 8 Jan 1996
  4. ^ Official Biography of Colonel Amrine Archived 2007-10-30 at the Wayback Machine.
  5. ^ Peterson AFB Public Affairs: Col Raymond's Official Biography Archived 2009-01-16 at the Wayback Machine.
  6. ^ AFHRA FOIA Req 09-0061: 21st Space Wing Roster of Key Personnel (as of 31 December 1996)
  7. ^ AFSPC Special Order GA-10, 2001
  8. ^ AFSPC Special Order GA-97, 2000
  9. ^ AFSPC Special Order GA-62, 6 December 1999
  10. ^ AFSPC Special Order GA-58, 6 December 1999
  11. ^ AFSPC Special Order GA-09, 1 November 1997