The 23rd Space Operations Squadron, a unit of Delta 6, headquartered at Schriever AFB,
Colorado, is geographically located at New Boston Air Force Station, New Hampshire.
The 23rd SOPS provides U.S. Space Command with critical satellite command and control
capability to more than 190 Department of Defense, national and civilian satellites
performing intelligence, weather, navigation, early-warning and communications operations.
The squadron provides assured access to space and cyberspace by operating and
maintaining the largest Air Force Satellite Control Network remote tracking station at
New Boston AFS, as well as at three other Geographically Separated Units located at
Thule Air Base, Greenland, Oakhanger, United Kingdom, and the Eastern Vehicle
Checkout Facility located at Cape Canaveral, Florida. The squadron provides real-time
capability to users performing on-orbit tracking, telemetry, commanding and mission
data retrieval services.
Additionally, the squadron provides remote command and control capability through two
Global Positioning System Control stations located at Cape Canaveral and Ascension
Island in the South Atlantic Ocean.
The squadron also operates and maintains a Defense Satellite Communications
System Heavy Earth Terminal, and additional equipment in support of the National
Oceanographic Atmospheric Administration and other mission partners.
In the squadron’s unique role in commanding the installation at New Boston AFS,
23rd SOPS 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.
The 23rd SOPS was originally activated July 25, 1942, as the 23rd 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 designated it the 23rd SOPS.
Air Force Space Command activated the unit at New Boston AFS on Nov. 1, 1991. The
squadron assumed responsibility for the operation of the New Hampshire Tracking Station,
replacing a detachment of the 2nd Satellite Tracking Group.
Satellite support operations at New Boston Satellite Tracking Station began 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 AFSPC, and the station moved from a
research and development environment into the operational Air Force Oct. 1, 1987. The
23rd SOPS was realigned under the 50th NOG March 10, 2004, and the station
celebrated its 50th Anniversary.
Assigned to the 50th NOG, the unit later gained responsibility and oversight of the
23rd SOPS began supporting three other AFSCN sites including 23rd SOPS
Detachment 1, located at Thule AB, Greenland, and Oakhanger, United Kingdom,
Oct. 1, 2010. The third site, the Eastern Vehicle Checkout Facility is located at
Cape Canaveral and ensures AFSCN capabilities and operation of satellites prior to
and during initial launch. The 23rd SOPS began supporting two GPS ground antennas
and monitor stations Aug. 1, 2011. One is located at Cape Canaveral and the other
is located at Ascension Auxiliary Air Field on Ascension Island.
As part of the U.S. Space Force's structure change, as of July 24, 2020
the squadron is assigned to Delta 6.
(Updated as of July 2020)