Surveillance Satellite Nears Prime Time

The Air Force is nearly ready to declare that the Space Based Surveillance System, a satellite designed to look for and monitor space debris, is ready to commence operations, said Air Force Space Command chief Gen. William Shelton. Speaking to reporters last week in Washington, D.C., Shelton said AFSPC will, “in just a few weeks, or even days, make that declaration.” The Air Force launched SBSS into space in September 2010, but Shelton said there have been problems that prevented him from having full confidence in what the satellite was reporting, causing the delay in declaring initial operational capability. “We were having a little trouble with the . . . quality of the data coming off the satellite. And then, we had some problems with the sensor itself,” he said. “It wasn’t anything life threatening to the satellite,” he added during the March 22 media roundtable, but Shelton felt he couldn’t vouch for the info until, apparently, now.