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U.S. Air Force set to launch next GSSAP spacecrafts

AFSPC-6 Mission Art

AFSPC-6 Mission Art

LOS ANGELES AIR FORCE BASE, El Segundo, Calif. –  The U.S. Air Force is scheduled to launch the third and fourth Orbital/ATK built Geosynchronous Space Situational Awareness Program (GSSAP) satellites aboard a United Launch Alliance Delta IV launch vehicle Aug. 19.


The mission, called AFSPC-6, will deliver two Geosynchronous Space Situational Awareness Program satellites into orbit to further the space situational awareness mission.


Two GSSAP satellites are currently on-orbit and meeting all mission requirements. The GSSAP satellites provide improved GEO based Space Situational Awareness (SSA) that will enhance the ability of the Joint Functional Component Commander for Space (JFCC-SPACE) to provide enhanced space safety of flight and better understand the ever evolving state of affairs in the GEO belt. 


“The first two GSSAP satellites have performed remarkably well,” said Lt. Gen. Samuel Greaves, SMC commander and Air Force program executive officer for space. “These next two satellites will add to that capability and enable us to understand more completely things what occurs in the geosynchronous orbit to a very high quality. It’s a key piece in the puzzle for space situational awareness.”


Operated by Air Force Space Command, the GSSAP System provides precise data seven days a week, 24-hours a day. 


The satellites will join a GSSAP constellation that is supporting U.S. Strategic Command space surveillance operations as a dedicated Space Surveillance Network sensor. The GSSAP also supports the JFCC-SPACE by collecting SSA data, allowing for more accurate tracking and characterization of man-made orbiting objects.


SMC and its mission partners will conduct the mission launch aboard a Delta IV Medium-plus configuration Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle. The EELV program was established by the United States Air Force to provide assured access to space for Department of Defense and other government payloads. The commercially developed EELV program supports the full range of government mission requirements, while delivering on schedule and providing significant cost savings over the heritage launch systems. 


Air Force Space Command's Space and Missile Systems Center, located at Los Angeles Air Force Base, California, is the U.S. Air Force's center of acquisition excellence for acquiring and developing military space systems. Its portfolio includes the Global Positioning System, military satellite communications, defense meteorological satellites, space launch and range systems, satellite control networks, space based infrared systems and space situational awareness capabilities.

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