posted on Jun, 20 2004 @ 09:33 PM
Force Space Command (AFSPC), created on 1 September 1982, is a
major command headquartered at Peterson Air Force Base, Colorado.
AFSPC defends America through its space and intercontinental ballistic
missile (ICBM) operations, vital force elements in projecting
global reach and global power.
Force Space Command makes space reliable for the warfighter by
continuously improving the command's ability to provide and support
combat forces -- assuring their access to space. In addition,
the command's ICBM forces deter any adversary contemplating the
use of weapons of mass destruction. AFSPC has four primary mission
forces support involves launching satellites and other high-value
payloads into space using a variety of expendable launch vehicles
and operating those satellites once in the medium of space.
Space control ensures friendly use of space through the conduct
of counterspace operations encompassing surveillance, negation
Force enhancement provides weather, communications, intelligence,
missile warning and navigation. Force enhancement is support
to the warfighter.
Force application involves maintaining and operating a rapid
response land-based ICBM force as the Air Force's only on-alert
Approximately 40,000 people, including 28,300 active-duty military
and civilians, and 11,700 contractor employees, combine to perform
Air Force Space Command has two numbered air forces. Fourteenth
Air Force provides space warfighting forces to U.S. Space Command,
and is located at Vandenberg AFB, Calif. Fourteenth Air Force
manages the generation and employment of space forces to support
U.S. Space Command and North American Aerospace Defense Command
(NORAD) operational plans and missions. Twentieth Air Force, located
at F.E. Warren AFB, Wyo., operates and maintains AFSPC's ICBM
weapon systems in support of U.S. Strategic Command war plans.
The Space Warfare Center at Falcon Air Force Base, Colo. is also
part of the command. The center plays a major role in fully integrating
space systems into the operational Air Force. Its force enhancement
mission looks at ways to use space systems to support warfighters
in the areas of navigation, weather, intelligence, communications
and theater ballistic missile warning, and how these apply to
AFSPC is the major command providing space forces for U.S. Space
Command and trained ICBM forces for U.S. Strategic Command. AFSPC
also supports NORAD with ballistic missile warning information,
operates the Space Warfare Center to develop space applications
for direct warfighter support, and is responsible for the Department
of Defense's ICBM follow-on operational test and evaluation program.
AFSPC bases, stations and units include: Cheyenne Mountain, Falcon,
Peterson and Buckley, Colorado; Onizuka and Vandenberg, California;
Cape Canaveral and Patrick, Florida; Minot, Grand Forks and Cavalier,
North Dakota; F.E. Warren, Wyoming; Malmstrom, Montana; Clear,
Alaska; New Boston, North Hampshire; Thule, Greenland; and Woomera,
Spacelift operations at the East and West Coast launch bases provide
services, facilities and range safety control for the conduct
of DOD, National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and
commercial launches. Through the command and control of all DOD
satellites, satellite operators provide force-multiplying effects
-- continuous global coverage, low vulnerability and autonomous
operations. Satellites provide essential in-theater secure communications,
weather, and navigational data for ground, air, and fleet operations,
and threat warning. Ground-based radar and Defense Support Program
satellites monitor ballistic missile launches around the world
to guard against a surprise attack on North America. Space surveillance
radars provide vital information on the location of satellites
and space debris for the nation and the world. With a readiness
rate above 99 percent, America's ICBM team plays a critical role
in maintaining world peace and ensuring the nation's safety and
AFSPC operates and supports the Global Positioning System, Defense
Satellite Communications Systems Phase II and III, Defense Meteorological
Satellite Program, Defense Support Program, NATO III and IV communications
and Fleet Satellite Communications System UHF follow-on and MILSTAR
satellites. AFSPC currently operates the Atlas II, Delta II, Titan
II and Titan IV launch vehicles. This includes all of the nation's
primary boosters from the Eastern and Western ranges and range
support for the space shuttle. AFSPC also operates the nation's
primary source of continuous, real-time solar flare warnings.
The command also operates a worldwide network of satellite tracking
stations to provide communications links to satellites -- a system
called the Air Force Satellite Control Network.
Ground-based radars used primarily for ballistic missile warning
include the Ballistic Missile Early Warning System, PAVE PAWS
and PARCS radars. The Maui Optical Tracking Identification Facility,
Ground-based Electro-Optical Deep Space Surveillance System, Passive
Space Surveillance System, phased-array and mechanical radars
provide primary space surveillance coverage.
The ICBM force consists of Minuteman III and Peacekeeper missiles
that provide the critical component of America's on-alert strategic
forces. As the nation's "silent sentinels," ICBMs, and the people
who operate them, have remained on continuous around-the-clock
alert since 1959 -- longer than any other U.S. strategic force.
More than 500 ICBMs are currently on alert in reinforced concrete
launch facilities beneath the Great Plains.
AFSPC is the Air Force's largest operator of UH-1N and HH-1H Huey
helicopters, responsible for missile operations support and security.
Missile warning and space operations were combined to form Air
Force Space Command in 1982, the same year NASA launched the first
space shuttle. During the Cold War, space operations focused on
missile warning, and command and control for national leadership.
In 1991, Operation Desert Storm provided emphasis for the command's
new focus on support to the warfighter. ICBM forces were merged
into AFSPC in 1993.
was collected from the Department of the Air Force