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19th Space Operations Squadron

19th Space Operations Squadron

19th Space Operations Squadron

19th SOPS, is a component of the 310th Space Wing, the only space wing in Air Force Reserve Command. 19th SOPS is located at Schriever Air Force Base, Colo. The unit was activated October 1, 2000..


Vision Statement
Be the Air Force's ultimate experts on GPS operations, modernization and Navigation Warfare issues.

Mission Statement
Launch, operate and sustain the GPS satellite constellation in support of daily taskings and requirements from Joint Functional Component Command - Space (JFCC-Space) to provide 24-hour, highly accurate navigation, timing and nuclear detonation detection information to users worldwide.

Parent Unit
310th Operations Group, 310th Space Wing

Organization

19 SOPS is a classic reserve associate unit to 2 SOPS, 50th Space Wing. The unit performs launch, early-orbit, anomaly resolution and disposal operations for the GPS constellation, and provides 24-hour, highly accurate navigation, timing and nuclear detonation information to users worldwide. It provides both an operational and strategic reserve capability by supporting daily operations while simultaneously maintaining a substantial call-up force. The unit regularly responds to taskings from JFCC-Space via the Joint Space Tasking Order. In addition, 19 SOPS' highly experienced personnel provide position, navigation and timing system expertise to National Command Authorities for Defense Support to Civil Authority functions, and navigation warfare planning and operations expertise to combatant commanders world-wide.


Unit History

The 19th Space Operations Squadron (19 SOPS) lineage dates back to 1953, when the US and Turkey constructed Pirinclik Air Station, Turkey as part of the implementation of the Truman Doctrine. Following the October 1954 ground breaking, construction began on the developmental radar designated AN/FPS-17. The then state-of-the art radar operated in conjunction with a 175 foot high antenna on a time sharing basis. Code named "RAGMOP", the radar detected the first Soviet missile in June 1955, and the world's first man-made satellite, Sputnik-1, in its initial orbit on 4 October 1957. The AN/FPS 17 functioned as a satellite monitor and launch and missile detection radar until it was deactivated in December 1995.


The surveillance system remained essentially unchanged until 1964 when the Air Force added the first AN/FPS-79 tracking radar, code-named "Blue Nine." The radar had an 84-foot parabolic antenna and provided highly accurate metric data on both missiles and satellites. The site closed on 27 July 1975, and remained in caretaker status until reactivation in October 1978. During Operation Desert Storm the radar alerted American troops to incoming SCUD missiles.

Reflecting the continuing evolution of the Air Force in space, the Pirinclik radar was operated by various commands, starting with the 6935th Radio Squadron of the USAF Security Service. Responsibility for the mission transitioned to Air Defense Command (1964); then, redesignated the 19th Space Surveillance Squadron, to Strategic Air Command (1979); and, finally, to Air Force Space Command (1987).

After 35 years of round-the-clock operations, the 19th Space Surveillance Squadron, Pirinclik Air Station, Turkey deactivated. The AN/FPS-79 tracked its last object, the Russian Mir space station, on 9 February 1997. Interestingly, the radar finished its career where it started...tracking Russian spacecraft.


(Current as of May 1, 2013)