111th Space Operations Squadron
111th Space Operations Squadron emblem
Active2003 – present
Country United States
Allegiance Arizona
Branch  Air National Guard
TypeSpace Operations
Part ofAir Force Space Command
Garrison/HQSky Harbor International Airport, Arizona[1]
Lt Col Patty Tuttle[2]

The United States Air Force's 111th Space Operations Squadron (111 SOPS) is an Air National Guard space communications unit located at Sky Harbor International Airport, Arizona. 111 SOPS is the military's first unit to operate free-floating balloons in the near space environment.[3]

Previous designations


Bases stationed

Sky Harbor International Airport, Arizona (2003 – present)

Equipment Operated

Combat SkySat balloons (2003 – present)[6][7]


  1. ^ Airman Magazine: Guard’s mission expands into space"
  2. ^ Singer, Jeremy (18 July 2007). "Pentagon Eyes High-Altitude Balloons for Emergency Communications System". Space.com. Retrieved 21 December 2016.
  3. ^ Arizona Department of Emergency and Military Affairs Annual Report 2006-07
  4. ^ "Arizona Air National Guard Headquarters and Units". Arizona Air National Guard. Archived from the original on 22 March 2008. Retrieved 21 November 2016.
  5. ^ Rogers, B. (2006). United States Air Force Unit Designations Since 1978. ISBN 1-85780-197-0
  6. ^ Morse, Joni (9 September 2005). "Military testing balloons as communications option". Space Data. RCR Wireless News. Archived from the original on 11 September 2012. Retrieved 21 December 2016.
  7. ^ World Airpower Journal. (1992). US Air Force Air Power Directory. Aerospace Publishing: London, UK. ISBN 1-880588-01-3