by Master Sgt. Kevin Williams
Air Force Space Command Public Affairs
6/10/2014 - PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. -- The
1st Space Operations Squadron at Schriever AFB, Colo. will assume
command and control of the Geosynchronous Space Situational Awareness
Program (GSSAP) this summer. The satellites are a space-based capability
that will operate in the near-geosynchronous orbit regime supporting
U.S. Strategic Command space surveillance operations as a dedicated
Space Surveillance Network sensor.
General William L. Shelton, Commander of Air Force Space Command,
directed 1 SOPS to add command and control of GSSAP to the portfolio of
Space Situational Awareness systems they control, including the Space
Based Space Surveillance satellite and the Advanced Technology Risk
Reduction (ATRR) satellite.
The first two GSSAP satellites are scheduled to launch July 23, 2014
aboard a United Launch Alliance Delta IV booster from Cape Canaveral Air
Force Station, Fla. 1 SOPS will assume operation of GSSAP following
launch and initial check-out. The satellites will communicate
information through world-wide Air Force Satellite Control Network
ground stations to 1 SOPS where satellite operators will oversee
day-to-day operation of the satellites.
"This marks a great milestone for 1 SOPS and AFSPC," said General
Shelton. "With the alignment of the GSSAP mission to 1 SOPS, we will
achieve new synergies within the Space Situational Awareness mission
area. Operating the new GSSAP mission alongside our other space-based
SSA systems will allow personnel to collaborate across multiple, highly
capable SSA systems within the same squadron."
Brig. Gen. David Buck, AFSPC Director of Air, Space and Cyberspace
Operations, noted GSSAP adds a different SSA mission than those
currently operated by 1 SOPS.
"GSSAP will not replace the capabilities that 1 SOPS currently
operates," said General Buck. "SBSS and ATRR operate in low-earth orbits
and have different capabilities. GSSAP will be placed in a
near-geosynchronous orbit at approximately 22,300 miles above the earth.
It will have a very distinct vantage point in relation to the objects
it will be observing in geosynchronous orbit. With GSSAP, we will
actually be able to characterize an object to a very discriminate level,
not just track it."
Other SSA capabilities operated by for 1 SOPS include ATRR, which is in a
low earth orbit and provides geosynchronous belt surveillance by
producing metric observations. SBSS is also in a low earth orbit and
provides metric observations as well as Space Object Identification data
on satellites operating in geosynchronous orbit.
GSSAP satellites are designed to support Joint Functional Component
Command for Space tasking to collect space situational awareness data
which will allow for more accurate tracking and characterization of
man-made orbiting objects. GSSAP will operate in a near-geosynchronous
orbit where it will have a clear, unobstructed and distinct vantage
point for viewing resident space objects in the geosynchronous orbit
regime 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, enhance our knowledge of the
geosynchronous orbit environment, and further enable space flight safety
to include satellite collision avoidance.