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Posted 4/16/2015 Printable Fact Sheet
1st SOPS
1st Space Operations Squadron
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The 1st Space Operations Squadron is a component of the 50th Operations Group, 50th Space Wing, Schriever Air Force Base, Colorado. The squadron was activated Jan. 30, 1992.

The squadron is AFSPC's premier organization for space-based space situational awareness.   The squadron commands, controls, and operates the Space Based Space Surveillance System, Advanced Technology Risk Reduction system, and the Geosynchronous Space Situational Awareness Program.

The Space Based Space Surveillance system is the next generation of space systems essential to increasing our nation's Space Situational Awareness capability.  SBSS is a follow on to the Midcourse Space Experiment system, operated by 1 SOPS from 1998 until mission termination in 2008.  

SBSS identifies and tracks Space Resident Objects from a sun-synchronous, low-earth orbiting platform, allowing greater responsiveness to taskings, as well as increased coverage of Resident Space Objects in the mid-Earth and geosynchronous orbit belts. SBSS collects metric positioning data via its gimbaled optical sensor, which is essential for updating the position and velocity of all Resident Space Objects in the space catalog.  Current ground systems, although effective at tracking LEO objects, are not optimized to detect small objects in deep space-SBSS assists in answering that need.

One of the most significant strengths SBSS brings to the SSN is increased custody of high-interest space objects, as well as faster revisit times on all Resident Space Objects, resulting in more accurate element sets for all objects in the space catalog. The squadron also collects Space Object Identification data on Resident Space Objects for the National Air and Space Intelligence Center at Wright-Patterson AFB, Ohio.

GSSAP satellites will be a space-based capability operating in the near-geosynchronous orbit regime supporting U.S. Strategic Command space surveillance operations as a dedicated Space Surveillance Network sensor.

GSSAP satellites will support Joint Functional Component Command for Space tasking to collect space situational awareness data allowing for more accurate characterization of man-made orbiting objects. It will have a clear, unobstructed and distinct vantage point for viewing Resident Space Objects orbiting earth in a near-geosynchronous orbit without the disruption of weather or atmosphere that can limit ground-based systems. Data from GSSAP will uniquely contribute to timely and accurate orbital predictions, enhancing our knowledge of the geosynchronous orbit environment, and further enabling space flight safety to include satellite collision avoidance.

The Advanced Technology Risk Reduction satellite was transferred to AFSPC control from the Missile Defense Agency in 2011, as a space-based space situational awareness platform and is a dedicated SSN sensor. The squadron, as the Command's expert in conducting on-orbit space surveillance, now operates the system in support of U.S. Strategic Command's space surveillance operations. ATRR conducts routine, area-based searches for Resident Space Objects. The Joint Space Operations Center uses this data to prevent on-orbit collisions of space objects, and to update the Space Order of Battle.

The unit was originally activated Feb. 14, 1961, as the 1st Aerospace Control Squadron, which was in operation until April 1976. On Oct. 5, 1987, the squadron was reactivated, renamed the 1st Satellite Control Squadron, and began its ever-growing satellite control mission. On Feb. 16, 1988, the squadron began commanding the Defense Support Program constellation.

The Space Operations Center was operationally turned over to Air Force Space Command Dec. 21, 1989. The SOC increased its mission on Feb. 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 1 SOPS.

In December 1989, 1 SOPS assumed control of launch and early orbit operations for Global Positioning System including satellite activation, initial checkout and transfer to mission orbit. The last support to the GPS launch was done from 1 SOPS December 2007 before transitioning to the 2nd Space Operations Squadron.

On December 4, 1998, the squadron assumed command and control capability on the Midcourse Space Experiment. MSX became an operational program on October 1, 2000, with the first-ever transfer of operations from the Ballistic Missile Defense Organization to AFSPC. MSX was decommissioned in July 2008.

In May 2003, 1 SOPS assumed responsibility of conducting mission assurance telemetry for Department of Defense Boosters, the first mission assigned to MMSOC. This mission transitioned to the Space Test Squadron at Kirtland AFB in March 2009

(Current as of April 2015)

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