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A space systems operator during Global Positioning System operations
Active1967-1997; 2000 – present
Country United States
Branch United States Air Force
RoleSpace Operations
Part ofAir Force Reserve Command
Garrison/HQSchriever AFB, Colorado
Motto(s)In Place-On Time-On Target
DecorationsAir Force Outstanding Unit Award[1]
19th Space Operations Squadron (approved 15 December 1967)[1]

The 19th Space Operations Squadron is an Air Force Reserve space operations unit, located at Schriever Air Force Base, Colorado.


The 19th Space Operations Squadron is a reserve associate unit with the 2d Space Operations Squadron of the 50th Space Wing. It performs launch, early-orbit, anomaly resolution and disposal operations for the Global Positioning System. The squadron provides navigation, timing and nuclear detonation information to users worldwide. It supports daily operations while also maintaining a reserve force available for mobilization.[2]


Space detection operations in Turkey


In October 1954, the US and Turkey began construction of Dyarbakir Air Station, Turkey. Construction began on a developmental radar designated the AN/FPS-17, a state-of-the art radar (for the time) with a 175-foot-high antenna. The radar detected the first Soviet launch missile in June 1955 and the world's first man-made satellite, Sputnik-1, in its initial orbit on 4 October 1957. In 1964 the Air Force added the first AN/FPS-79 tracking radar, with an 84-foot parabolic antenna, to provide accurate metric data on both missiles and satellites. If a new space object was sensed by the detection radar's fans, then the tracking radar could be oriented to achieve lock-on and tracking of the object. The radars were operated by the 6935th Radio Squadron, Mobile of USAF Security Service until 1964, when responsibility for the radars was transferred to Air Defense Command (ADC).[2]

Squadron activation
AN/FPS-17 as operated by the squadron

ADC organized the 19th Surveillance Squadron on 1 January 1967[1] to operate the Dyarbakir radars. The unit operated detection and tracking radar units to provide data on missile launches, deep space surveillance and tactical warning. The Diyabakir site closed on 27 July 1975 and was placed in caretaker status. During this time, the squadron did not conduct operations, but maintained the radar site in readiness for future operations. In October 1978, the radars were returned to operational status. By this time, ADC[note 1] had been disestablished and the squadron was an element of Strategic Air Command, which had assumed ADC's space mission. The mission and squadron were again transferred when the Air Force established Air Force Space Command in 1987.[2]

During Operation Desert Storm the radar alerted American troops to incoming SCUD missiles. In 1992, the unit was redesignated the 19th Space Surveillance Squadron.[1] The radars at what was now called Pirinclik Air Station functioned as a satellite monitor and launch and missile detection radar until the AN/FPS-17 radars were decommissioned in December 1995. The AN/FPS-79 tracking radar operated until the site closed in 1997.[2]

Reserve associate operation

The squadron was redesignated the 19th Space Operations Squadron and activated in October 2000 at Schriever Air Force Base, Colorado in the reserve as an associate unit of the regular 2d Space Operations Squadron, operating the same equipment to manage the Global Positioning System alongside members of the 2d Squadron.[1][2]


Organized on 1 January 1967
Redesignated 19th Space Surveillance Squadron on 15 May 1992
Inactivated on 16 June 1997
Activated in the reserve on 1 October 2000[1]




Award streamer Award Dates Notes
Air Force Outstanding Unit Award 15 June 1972 – 14 June 1973 19th Surveillance Squadron[1]
Air Force Outstanding Unit Award 1 May 1983 – 30 April 1984 19th Surveillance Squadron[1]
Air Force Outstanding Unit Award 1 September 1989 – 31 August 1991 19th Surveillance Squadron[1]
Air Force Outstanding Unit Award 1 October 1995 – 30 September 1997 19th Space Surveillance Squadron[1]
Air Force Outstanding Unit Award 1 October 2000 - 30 September 2002 19th Space Operations Squadron[1]
Air Force Outstanding Unit Award 1 October 2001 - 1 October 2002 19th Space Operations Squadron[1]
Air Force Outstanding Unit Award 1 October 2002 – 30 July 2004 19th Space Operations Squadron[1]
Air Force Outstanding Unit Award 1 August 2004 – 31 July 2006 19th Space Operations Squadron[1]
Air Force Outstanding Unit Award 1 August 2006 - 31 July 2008 19th Space Operations Squadron[1]



Explanatory notes
  1. ^ Air Defense Command had been redesignated Aerospace Defense Command in 1968 to recognize its space mission. The usual abbreviation for the command became AEDC.
  2. ^ Cornett and Johnson indiacte the unit was originally designated the 19th Aerospace Surveillance Squadron with the "Aerospace" being dropped on 3 January 1967. Cornett & Johnson, p.149.
  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q Kane, Robert B. (28 December 2010). "Factsheet 19 Space Operations Squadron (AFRC)". Air Force Historical Research Agency. Retrieved 17 May 2018.
  2. ^ a b c d e "310th Space Wing: About Us:Factsheet 19th Space Operations Squadron". 310th Space Wing Public Affairs. 29 May 2013. Retrieved 17 May 2018.


Public Domain This article incorporates public domain material from the Air Force Historical Research Agency