6th Space Operations Squadron

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6th Space Operations Squadron
6th Space Operations Squadron.png
6th Space Operations Squadron emblem
Active 1983-present
Country United States
Branch United States Air Force
Type Satellite Operations
Role DMSP C2
Garrison/HQ Schriever AFB, Colorado
Motto SUPRA ET ULTRA – "Above and Beyond"

The 6th Space Operations Squadron (6 SOPS) is an Air Force Reserve satellite command and control squadron located at Schriever AFB, Colorado. 6 SOPS is a backup to NOAA for Defense Meteorological Satellite Program operations.


The 6th Space Operations Squadron provides a backup command and control center for the Defense Meteorological Satellite Program (DMSP). DMSP is the longest running production satellite program ever. The DMSP satellite constellation provides strategic and tactical weather prediction to aid military operations planning at sea, on land, and in the air. The satellites can image visible and infrared cloud cover, measure precipitation, surface temperature, and soil moisture. In addition, it collects specialized global meteorological oceanographic and solar-geophysical information in all weather conditions. It also has sensors for space weather data that is used to assist in high-frequency communications, over-the-horizon radar and spacecraft drag and reentry tasks. The information provided by the DMSP satellites is used to compile various worldwide weather products for numerous users, such as the Air Force Weather Agency and Fleet Numerical Meteorology and Oceanography Center as well as civilian authorities through the Department of Commerce. The 6 SOPS is located at Schriever Air Force Base, Colo.


The 4000th Support Group was organized and established on 1 February 1963 as a component of Strategic Air Command. It was reassigned to the 1st Strategic Aerospace Division on 1 January 1966. On 1 January 1973, the organization was redesignated 4999th Aerospace Application Group without change in assignment or location. It was redesignated 4000th Satellite Operations Group on 3 April 1981. .

On 1 May 1983, the 4000th Satellite Operations Group at Offutt AFB was transferred to the newly formed Air Force Space Command under the 1st Space Wing and was given a new designation, the 1000th Satellite Operations Group ('One Grand'). The group was reassigned to the 2d Space Wing on 1 April 1986. In May 1989, Detachment 1 at Fairchild AFB, Washington, was upgraded to squadron status, becoming the 5th Satellite Control Squadron. On 30 January 1992, the group was reassgned to the 50th Space Wing. On 31 July 1992, the 1000th Satellite Operations Group redesignated, becoming the 6th Space Operations Squadron and was reassigned to the 50th Operations Group. The unit was still a Regular Air Force unit and was still stationed at Offutt AFB, NE.

In 1994, President William Clinton signed a bill that merged federal weather programs. Prior to the merge, federal programs were deemed to be redundant. This merger would save the government money and allow one entity to control national weather products. The merger also moved weather operations to the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) located in Suitland, MD.

On 30 September 1998, the 6th Space Operations Squadron was inactivated. It activated in the Air Force Reserve with assignment to the 310th Space Group and assignment at Schriever AFB, Colorado on 1 October 1998.

The squadron's operations have been command and control of the Defense Meteorological Satellite Program (DMSP) satellites since 1 February 1963.

Previous designations[edit]

  • 6th Space Operations Squadron (31 July 1992-30 Sep 1998; 1 Oct 1998 – present)[1]
  • 1000th Satellite Operations Group (1983–1992)
  • 4000th Satellite Operations Group (1981-1983)
  • 4000th Aerospace Application Group (1973-1981)
  • 4000th Support Group (1963-1973)

Bases stationed[edit]


  • Lt Col Jennifer Waller (2014–present)
  • Lt Col Jody Merritt (2012–2014)
  • Lt Col Michael DiTondo (2008 – 2012)
  • Lt Col Byron Hays (2006–2008)
  • Lt Col Mark Hustedt
  • Lt Col Kevin Kiser
  • Lt Col Keith Amburgey
  • Lt Col John Hyten (Last Active Duty)

Spacecraft flown[edit]