1st Space Operations Squadron

The 1st Space Operations Squadron is a component of Delta 9, headquartered at Schriever Space Force Base, Colorado. The squadron was activated Oct. 5, 1987. 


1 SOPS is the U.S. Space Force’s premier organization for space-based space domain awareness, conducting vigilant surveillance and reconnaissance operations to protect and defend U.S. and allied interests in space. The squadron operates the Operationally Responsive Space-5 spacecraft and the Geosynchronous Space Situational Awareness Program constellation. 

Combat crews conduct 24-hour operations supporting United States Space Command. Operators, orbital analysts, mission planners, intelligence professionals, and program engineers conduct integrated planning and execution of combat operations across the spectrum of conflict. 

The first two GSSAP spacecraft were launched aboard a United Launch Alliance Delta IV M+ (4, 2) booster configuration from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida, July 28, 2014. A second set of two spacecraft was launched Aug. 19, 2016. The most recent pair of spacecrafts launched Jan. 21, 2022. The GSSAP constellation provides a space-based capability operating in the near-geosynchronous orbit regime for U.S. Space Command operations. 

The GSSAP constellation provides the joint force with accurate surveillance, tracking, and characterization of manmade Resident Space Objects (RSO). From their near-geosynchronous orbit, the spacecraft have a clear, unobstructed, and distinct vantage point without the interruption of weather or atmospheric distortion that can limit ground-based systems. 

GSSAP spacecraft also have the capability to perform Rendezvous and Proximity Operations. RPO allows for the spacecraft to maneuver near an RSO of interest, enabling characterization for anomaly resolution and enhanced surveillance, while maintaining flight safety. Data from GSSAP uniquely contributes to timely and accurate orbital predictions, enhancing our knowledge of the geosynchronous orbit environment, and further enabling space flight safety to include satellite collision avoidance. 

ORS-5 launched on an Orbital ATK Minotaur IV from Cape Canaveral AFS Aug. 26, 2017. The spacecraft operates at an altitude of 372 miles and continuously scans the geosynchronous orbit at a reduced cost compared to larger, more complex satellites. 

The MIT Lincoln Laboratory-built spacecraft provides metric observation data. 


The unit was originally activated Feb. 14, 1961, as the 1st Aerospace Control Squadron, which was in operation until April 1976. On Oct. 5, 1987, the squadron was reactivated, renamed the 1st Satellite Control Squadron, and began its ever-growing space operations mission. On Feb. 16, 1988, the squadron began commanding the Defense Support Program constellation, establishing the unit’s unique role as pathfinder for future space mission areas. 

The unit’s Space Operations Center was operationally turned over to Air Force Space Command Dec. 21, 1989. The SOC increased its mission Feb. 20, 1990, with the addition of the Defense Meteorological Satellite Program mission. In May 1996, Satellite Control Authority for AFSPC’s first research and development spacecraft, Technology for Autonomous Operational Survivability, was given to 1 SOPS. 

In December 1989, 1 SOPS assumed control of launch and early orbit operations for the Global Positioning System including satellite activation, initial checkout, and transfer to mission orbit. The last support to the GPS mission was done from 1 SOPS December 2007 before transitioning to 2 SOPS. 

On Dec. 4, 1998, the squadron assumed command and control capability on the Midcourse Space Experiment. MSX became an operational program Oct. 1, 2000, with the first-ever transfer of operations from the Ballistic Missile Defense Organization to AFSPC. MSX was decommissioned in July 2008. 

In May 2003, 1 SOPS assumed responsibility for conducting mission assurance telemetry for Department of Defense Boosters, the first mission commanded on the revolutionary Multi-Mission Satellite Operations Center construct. The MMSOC rendered a one-of-a-kind approach to operations to demonstrate and field emerging space missions and satellite command and control technologies in a rapid and decisive manner. The DoD Booster mission transitioned to the Space Test Squadron at Kirtland AFB, New Mexico in March 2009. 

MMSOC missions grew with the transfer of TacSat-3 to 1 SOPS on Jun. 12, 2010. TacSat-3, an Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance spacecraft, provided Hyperspectral Imagery in support of Air Force Research Laboratory Space Vehicles Directorate and NASIC. The spacecraft retired from mission operations on Feb. 17, 2012, and reentered the Earth's atmosphere Apr. 30, 2012. 

On Sept. 25, 2010, the Space-Based Space Surveillance spacecraft was launched from Vandenberg AFB, California onboard the Minotaur IV into a sun-synchronous orbit. Operated by 1 SOPS, it was the first space-based sensor to be added to USSF's Space Surveillance Network. SBSS provided metric observations and Space Object Identification data on satellites operating in low-earth, semi- synchronous, and geosynchronous orbits.  

The Advanced Technology Risk Reduction spacecraft launched from Vandenberg AFB May 5, 2009, onboard a Delta II delivery system. ATRR conducted SDA operations in support of the SSN. Satellite Control Authority was transferred from the Missile Defense Agency to 1 SOPS on Jan. 31, 2011. ATRR previously served as a pathfinder for next-generation sensor technology for future MDA space missions. Under 1 SOPS control, it provided metric observation data on geostationary orbits. 

On June 29, 2011, MMSOC's next mission, ORS-1, launched from Wallops Island, Virginia on board the Minotaur I. It was the first ISR satellite dedicated to a geographic combatant command: U.S. Central Command. ORS-1 provided optical and infrared imagery using sensors based on the U-2 Senior Year Electro-Optical Reconnaissance. In January 2012, ORS-1 gained early combatant command acceptance, a milestone that allowed MMSOC to bring this capability to the warfighter sooner than expected. In April 2014, ORS-1 operations were realigned under the command of the 3rd Space Experimentation Squadron. 

On Jun. 19, 2020, as part of the U.S. Space Force protect and defend restructure, 1 SOPS was transferred from the 50th Operations Group to the newly activated 750th Operations Group. The mission of the 750th OG was to prepare, present, and project assigned and attached forces for the purpose of conducting offensive and defensive operations from space and providing national decision authorities with response options to deter, defend, and defeat adversary threats in space. 

As part of further U.S. Space Force establishment changes, the 750th OG was redesignated as Space Delta 9 on Jul. 24, 2020. With this change, 1 SOPS is aligned as a subordinate unit to Space Delta 9. 

(Current as of February 2024)