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1st Space Control Squadron
1st Space Control Squadron.png
1st Space Control Squadron emblem
Active 1961-2008,[1][2]
Country United States
Branch United States Air Force
Type Space Control
Role Space Situational Awareness
Size 106[3]
Part of AFSPC/14 AF/614th AOC
Garrison/HQ Vandenberg AFB, California,[1][4][5]
Decorations Outstanding Unit ribbon.svg AFOUA
Global War on Terrorism Service ribbon.svg GWOT-S

The United States Air Force's 1st Space Control Squadron (1 SPCS) was a space situational awareness unit located at Cheyenne Mountain AFS, Colorado and later moved to Vandenberg AFB, California . 1 SPCS commanded the United States Space Surveillance Network to detect, track, identify and catalog positional data for all man-made objects in Earth orbit.[6]

Mission[edit | edit source]

"Building space situational awareness is not the science of becoming omniscient about space but the art of understanding what's relevant for command and control of space forces." Lt Col Chance Saltzman, former 1 SPCS Commander

The 1 SPCS tracked and compiled positional data on thousands of man-made objects in space partly to prevent collisions between newly launched satellites and other objects already orbiting the earth. Additionally, the unit had the mission to task 30 space sensors within Space Surveillance Network to track satellites for US Strategic Command (USSTRATCOM) to maintain an accurate satellite catalog (SATCAT) of over 9000 object orbiting the earth.,[7][8] To support manned space flight, 1 SPCS constructs a theoretical box around the space shuttle, MIR or ISS, and projects flight path intersections for 36 to 72 hours. If any objects intersects the theoretical box, the unit forwarded the analysis to NASA, allowing them to determine whether to change the spacecraft/space station's flight path. Based on 1 SPCS mission analysis, and its predecessor units, NASA has moved the space shuttle 12 times and the International Space Station five times since 1981.[6] In June 1995, the unit tracked the U.S. Space Shuttle Atlantis during its historic rendezvous with the Russian space station Mir. The unit also compiled a catalog of space objects.[9][10]

The 1 SPCS also contained international personnel, such as Canadian military, since SSA was not just a U.S. problem.[8]

History[edit | edit source]

The 1st Command and Control Squadron provided collision avoidance support during each shuttle mission as well as maintaining an extensive satellite catalog (the "SATCAT" or "Box score").[11] This catalog is used by U.S. civilian and military agencies when launching new satellites into space, as well as by U.S. allies.[12]

The roots of the 1 SPCS reach back to 1961, with the Space Detection and Tracking System Center at Ent Air Force Base, CO. Through several moves, name changes, personnel, experience, and equipment, they were activated as the 1st Command and Control Squadron activated at Cheyenne Mountain AFS, CO, in December 1989, and were later redesignated in October 2001, as the 1 SPCS.[1] Though the unit moved to Vandenberg AFB, California in 2007 to better coordinate activities with the Joint Space Operations Center (JSPoC), it lost over 150 years of expert civilian experience.[13][14]

Inactivation[edit | edit source]

The unit was inactivated on 9 Jun 2008, and its mission and members integrated into the 614th Air and Space Operations Center / Joint Space Operations Center.[2] Unconfirmed sources state that Cheyenne Mountain AFS may retain some capability to cover the 1 SPCS mission, if required.[15]

Assignments[edit | edit source]

Major Command[edit | edit source]

Numbered Air Force[edit | edit source]

Wing/Group[edit | edit source]

Previous designations[edit | edit source]

  • 1st Space Control Squadron (1 October 2001 – 9 June 2008),[1][2]
  • 1st Command & Control Squadron (30 November 1989 – 1 October 2001)[1]
  • Space Detection and Tracking System Center (1961 - ???)

Bases stationed[edit | edit source]

Commanders[edit | edit source]

  • Lt David Agee (1989–1991) [1]
  • Lt Col Joseph Wysocki (1991–1993) [1]
  • Lt Col John M. Rabins (1993–1994) [1]
  • Lt Col Michael A. Muolo (1994–1996) [1][16]
  • Lt Col Joseph G. Baillargeon (1996–1998)[1]
  • Lt Col David A. Strand (14 Aug 1998-2000)[1][17]
  • Lt Col Craigen B. Anderson (2000-???) [1]
  • Lt. Col. Scott F. Shepherd (2002–2004)[6]
  • Lt Col Michael Mason (circa 2007),[3][18]
  • Lt Col Chance Saltzman (???-2009)[2]

Decorations[edit | edit source]

Photo gallery[edit | edit source]

See also[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. 1.00 1.01 1.02 1.03 1.04 1.05 1.06 1.07 1.08 1.09 1.10 1.11 1.12 1.13 1.14 1.15 1.16 "AFHRA: 1st Space Control Squadron Factsheet". Archived from the original on 2009-05-13. http://www.webcitation.org/5gkZoL1Ml. Retrieved 2009-04-16. 
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 This story was written by Senior Airman Erica Stewart. "30th Space Wing Public Affairs: "1st Space Control Squadron inactivates, joins 14th AOC," 9 Jun 2008". Archived from the original on 2009-05-13. http://www.webcitation.org/5gkZrCP6L. Retrieved 2009-04-16. 
  3. 3.0 3.1 "Santa Maria Times: "Space unit settles in at VAFB," 29 Oct 2007". Archived from the original on 2009-05-13. http://www.webcitation.org/5gkZpXhxP. Retrieved 2009-04-16. 
  4. This story was written by. "Air Force Link: "Space unit to move from Cheyenne Mountain," 15 Sep 2006". Archived from the original on 2009-05-13. http://www.webcitation.org/5gkZspAQ2. Retrieved 2009-04-16. 
  5. This story was written by. "Air Force Link: "AF Space commander discusses future space capabilities," 14 Sep 2006". Archived from the original on 2009-05-13. http://www.webcitation.org/5gkZtDrJj. Retrieved 2009-04-16. 
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 "PR Newswire: "SGI Systems Help U.S. Air Force Space Command Detect, Track, Identify And Catalog Man-Made Objects in Space," 2007". Archived from the original on 2009-05-13. http://www.webcitation.org/5gkZra8qh. Retrieved 2009-04-16. 
  7. "Military Operational Research Society: MORS Journal, Vol 12". Archived from the original on 2009-05-13. http://www.webcitation.org/5gkZqMeJE. Retrieved 2009-04-16. 
  8. 8.0 8.1 "National Defence and the Canadian Forces: "Space: the final recruiting frontier," 14 Feb 2007". Archived from the original on 2009-05-13. http://www.webcitation.org/5gkZqm3HD. Retrieved 2009-04-16. 
  9. This story was written by Trisha Schmalz. "AFSPC Public Affairs: "NASA honors 1st Space Control Squadron team," 6 Aug 2007". Archived from the original on 2009-05-13. http://www.webcitation.org/5gkZojQWP. Retrieved 2009-04-16. 
  10. "Celestrak.com: "Space Surveillance Contributions to the STS 107 Accident Investigation, AAS 04-128"". Archived from the original on 2009-05-13. http://www.webcitation.org/5gkZpvDfI. Retrieved 2009-04-16. 
  11. Wood, D. 2005 Cataloging space junk: Working on the 'world's largest jigsaw puzzle'
  12. FAS.org: 21st Space Wing
  13. "Space News: "Chilton: Progress Is Being Made On Space Situational Awareness," 24 Apr 2007". Archived from the original on 2009-05-13. http://www.webcitation.org/5gkZp8QIm. Retrieved 2009-04-16. 
  14. "Colorado Springs Gazette: "Cheyenne Mountain’s fate may lie in study contents," 16 Jun 2006". Archived from the original on 2009-05-13. http://www.webcitation.org/5gkZryU8S. Retrieved 2009-04-16. 
  15. "Colorado Springs Independent: "Bad move? As NORAD leaves Cheyenne Mountain, some worry it's a dangerous mistake," 3 May 2007". Archived from the original on 2009-05-13. http://www.webcitation.org/5gkZtcr64. Retrieved 2009-04-16. 
  16. AFHRA FOIA Req 09-0061: 21st Space Wing Roster of Key Personnel (as of 31 Dec 1996)
  17. 21st Space Wing/JA: "Request and Authorization for Assumption of/Appointment to Command", G-014, 22 Jul 1998
  18. "AFSPC Public Affairs: Col Scott F. Shepherd Official Biography". Archived from the original on 2009-05-13. http://www.webcitation.org/5gkZsMkm1. Retrieved 2009-04-16. 
  19. AFSPC Special Order GA-58, 6 Dec 1999
  20. AFSPC Special Order GA-62, 6 Dec 1999
  21. AFSPC Special Order GA-09, 1 Nov 1997

External links[edit | edit source]

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