|3rd Test and Evaluation Squadron|
|Active||1990 – 2002|
2006 – present
|Branch||United States Space Force|
|Role||Technology experimentation, demonstration, and test|
|Part of||Space Delta 12|
|Home base||Schriever Space Force Base, Colorado|
|Mascot(s)||Komainu (Japanese for 'guardian lion-dog')|
|Decorations||Air Force Outstanding Unit Award|
|Lt Col Anna Gunn-Golkin|
The 3rd Test and Evaluation Squadron (3 TES) (formerly 3rd Space Experimentation Squadron (3 SES)) is a space test and evaluation unit located at Schriever Space Force Base in Colorado.
As part of the United States Air Force, the squadron was described, in 2008, as "AFSPC's premier organization for space-based demonstrations, pathfinders and experiments. The unit identifies concepts of employment, training, education and technical skill sets required to field selected future AFSPC missions. The 3d SES will develop a core cadre of space professionals to serve as subject matter experts for all future AFSPC space-based endeavors, demonstrate operational utility of selected demonstrations and apply lessons learned from demonstrations and pathfinders for use in future initiatives."
The 3d SES was first constituted as the 3d Surveillance Squadron on August 10, 1990, at Misawa AB, Japan. However it was not activated at that time. In preparation for its activation and operations, Det. 3, 73d Space Group activated in January 1991 to oversee construction and site preparation for the 3d. The home for the 3d SS (project name RINGO) was completed on March 16, 1991. Two antennas, an operations building, support building, pump housing and entry control point were constructed beginning on October 1, 1991, and was completed on May 31, 1992. Later that year, the unit was redesignated 3d Space Surveillance Squadron and it activated on October 1. The unit's Deep Space Tracking System obtained initial operating capability in April 1994. The squadron inactivated on February 20, 2002.
Assigned to the 73d Space Group, the 3d was tasked with operating passive sensors for the Deep Space Tracking System. The squadron was one of two Deep Space Tracking System squadrons located throughout the world. The DSTS tracked objects orbiting more than 22,300 miles above the Earth. More than 9,500 man-made objects orbit the Earth, ranging in size from a baseball to the Mir space station. The 3d SPSS forwarded this data to the 1st Command and Control Squadron and the Space Control Center, Cheyenne Mountain Air Station, CO. The 1st CACS and the center use this information, along with other data, to catalog and identify all man-made Earth-orbiting objects. Several agencies use this information for everything from collision avoidance to intelligence.
On February 23, 2006, Air Force Space Command ordered the unit redesignated 3d Space Experimentation Squadron and activated it effective March 10, 2006, with its new home at Schriever AFB, Colorado.
On August 23, 2021, the United States Space Force, Space Training and Readiness Command (STARCOM), ordered the unit redesignated 3d Test and Evaluation Squadron and activated it effective August 27, 2021.