3rd Space Experimentation Squadron

The 3rd Space Experimentation Squadron is a component of the Space Training and Readiness Delta (Provisional). The 3rd SES was realigned under Space Delta 12 as of Aug. 27, 2021 and has been renamed as the 3rd Test and Evaluation Squadron. The unit is located on Schriever Air Force Base, Colorado.

The 3rd SES is the Space Force’s premier organization for conducting space-based demonstrations and experimentation. Utilizing innovative and scientific methodologies, the detachment is accelerating the transition of research and development concepts into operational space capabilities.

The 3rd SES previously operated the Automated Navigation and Guidance Experiment for Local Space, or ANGELS, spacecraft which was
decommissioned on Nov. 20, 2017. ANGELS hosted a Space Situational Awareness sensor payload to evaluate techniques for detection, tracking and characterization of space objects. The experimental spacecraft utilized autonomous navigation to advance the tactics, techniques and procedures necessary to safely conduct rendezvous and proximity operations.

Launched in April 2018, the Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle Secondary Payload Adapter Augmented Geosynchronous Laboratory Experiment, or EAGLE, spacecraft was the Air Force’s first on-orbit maneuverable ESPA ring. ESPA rings take advantage of secondary payload efficiencies creating low-cost access to geosynchronous orbit, allowing for six or more hosted or deployable experiments. One of EAGLE’s hosted payloads is the Mycroft spacecraft which is a separable, fly-away satellite. The Mycroft spacecraft will advance Space Domain Awareness technology and enhance space object characterization capabilities while performing rendezvous and proximity operations. These spacecraft, developed by the Air Force Research Laboratory, will initially be supported by 3rd SES members at Kirtland AFB, New Mexico. Satellite Control Authority for both spacecraft will shift to 3rd SES, and operations will move to Schriever AFB in 2020 for residual experimentation.

3rd SES also oversees operations of the X-37B Orbital Test Vehicle, an experimental program designed to demonstrate technologies for a reliable, reusable, unmanned space test platform for the U.S. Space Force.