Air Force Gains Space-Surveillance Asset

The 1st Space Operations Squadron at Schriever AFB, Colo., has taken operational control of the Space Tracking and Surveillance System Advanced Technology Risk Reduction satellite from the Missile Defense Agency. This addition gives the Air Force another on-orbit asset for monitoring objects in space as part of the space situational awareness mission. “[B]ringing ATRR onboard will further enhance 1st SOPS’ capabilities and contributions to the broader SSA mission,” said Col. John Shaw, commander of Schriever’s 50th Operations Group. STSS ATRR reached orbit in May 2009 for use in missile tracking experiments for MDA. After 20 months of testing that showed the satellite had operational utility, MDA last November announced plans to transfer the satellite to the Air Force. In related news, 1st SOPS is expected to assume operational control of the Air Force’s Space Based Space Surveillance satellite soon. (Schriever report by Jennifer Thibault)