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Geosynchronous Space Situational Awareness Program

GSSAP artist rendering

GSSAP artist rendering

Mission


GSSAP satellites are a space-based capability operating in the near-geosynchronous orbit regime supporting U.S. Strategic Command space surveillance operations as a dedicated Space Surveillance Network (SSN) sensor.

GSSAP satellites support the Joint Force Space Component Commander (JFSCC) tasking to collect space situational awareness data allowing for more accurate tracking and characterization of man¬ made orbiting objects. From a near-geosynchronous orbit, it has a clear, unobstructed and distinct vantage point for viewing Resident Space Objects (RSOs) without the interruption of weather or the atmospheric distortion that can limit ground-based systems. GSSAP satellites operate near the geosynchronous belt and have the capability to perform Rendezvous and Proximity Operations (RPO). RPO allows for the space vehicle to maneuver near a resident space object 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.

GSSAP satellites communicate information through the world-wide Air Force Satellite Control Network (AFSCN) ground stations, then to Schriever Air Force Base, CO where 50th Space Wing satellite operators of the 1st Space Operations Squadron (1 SOPS) oversee day-to-day operations.

Two GSSAP satellites launched aboard a United Launch Alliance (ULA) Delta IV M+ (4,2) booster configuration from Cape Canaveral AFS, FL on July 28, 2014.  GSSAP declared Initial Operational Capability (IOC) for the first two spacecraft on September 29, 2015.   Two additional replenishment satellites launched on August 19, 2016, and accepted into operation September 12, 2017.

General Characteristics

Mission: Space Surveillance
Primary Contractor: Orbital Sciences Corporation Orbit: Approximately 22,300 miles (35,970 km)

(Current as of July 2018)