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23rd Space Operations Squadron

23rd Space Operations Squadron

23rd Space Operations Squadron

The 23rd Space Operations Squadron, a unit of the 50th Network Operations Group, 50th Space Wing, is located at New Boston Air Force Station, N.H., and was activated Nov. 1, 1991.

The 23rd Space Operations Squadron is one of eight Air Force Satellite Control Network Remote Tracking Stations providing United States Strategic Command with critical satellite command and control capability to more than 185 Department of Defense, national and civilian satellites performing intelligence, weather, navigation, early-warning and communications operations.

The 23 SOPS provides assured access to space and cyberspace by operating and maintaining the largest AFSCN remote tracking station at New Boston Air Force Station, N.H.. The squadron provides real-time capability to users performing on-orbit tracking, telemetry, commanding and mission data retrieval services. The squadron also operates and maintains a Defense Satellite Communications System Heavy Earth Terminal, Source-B antenna, and Defense Meteorological Satellite Program Enhancement for the National Oceanographic Atmospheric Administration.

On Oct. 1, 2010, the 23 SOPS began supporting three other AFSCN sites including Detachment 1, 23 SOPS, located at Thule Air Base, Greenland, and Oakhanger, United Kingdom. The third site, the Eastern Vehicle Checkout Facility is located at Cape Canaveral, Fla., and is tasked with ensuring AFSCN capabilities and operation of satellites prior to and during initial launch. On Aug. 1, 2011, 23 SOPS began supporting two GPS ground antennas and monitor stations. One is located at Cape Canaveral and the other is located at Ascension Auxiliary Air Field on Ascension Island in the South Atlantic.

The squadron operates and maintains a 2,826-acre installation and infrastructure worth more than $106 million. The squadron performs all station operations for the installation including security, civil engineering, communications, services, natural resources and safety.

Satellite support operations at New Boston Satellite Tracking Station began on April 1, 1960, using van-mounted equipment. Simultaneous with van operations, the installation of equipment in permanent facilities began under the Weapons Systems 117L program. Van operations were gradually phased out and by June 1964, the entire station was operating in permanent facilities.

By the summer of 1964, the station had dual satellite tracking, telemetry and commanding capabilities. The squadron was transferred to Air Force Space Command and the station moved from a research and development environment into the operational Air Force on Oct. 1, 1987. 23d SOPS was realigned under the 50th Network Operations Group on March 10, 2004, and the station celebrated its 50th Anniversary.


The 23d Space Operations Squadron activated Jul. 25, 1942 as the 23d Airways Detachment.  The squadron served in India and China during World War II, earning campaign streamers for India-Burma (1942-1945) and the China Defensive (1942-1945) before disbanding on Dec 1. 1943.  The Air Force reconstituted the squadron and redesignated it 23d Space Operations Squadron.  Air Force Space Command activated the unit at New Boston AFS, New Hampshire, on Nov. 1, 1991.  The squadron assumed responsibility for the operation of the New Hampshire Tracking Station, replacing a detachment of the 2d Satellite Tracking Group.  Assigned to the 50th Network Operations Group from the 50th Operations Group on Mar. 10, 2004, the unit later gained responsibility and oversight of the Thule Tracking Station and activated its Detachment 1 there.  In 2010, the squadron gained maintenance responsibilities for GPS ground antennas and monitor stations within its area of responsibility. 

(Current as of February 2018)