Geosynchronous Space Situational Awareness Program (GSSAP) satellites are a space-based capability operating in the near-geosynchronous orbit regime supporting U.S. Space Command space surveillance operations as a dedicated Space Surveillance Network (SSN) sensor.
GSSAP satellites 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, Colo., where the 50th Space Wing conducts day-to-day operations.
GSSAP satellites launched from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla., on July 28, 2014. GSSAP declared Initial Operational Capability (IOC) on Sept. 29, 2015. Additional replenishment satellites launched on Aug. 19, 2016, and accepted into operation Sept. 12, 2017.
Mission: Space Surveillance
Primary Contractor: Northrup Grumman Integrated System: Approximately 22,300 miles (35,970 km)
(Current as of September 2019)