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GEODSS sites redesignated under 20th SPCS

WHITE SANDS MISSILE RANGE, New Mexico – Col. Troy L. Endicott, commander, 21st Operations Group, left, passes the guidon to Lt. Col. Mafwa Kuvibidila, 20th Space Control Squadron commander during a redesignation ceremony April 20. Maj. Daniel Coleman, far right, 20th SPCS Detachment 1 commander and Chief Master Sgt. Kristine Jones, superintendent, 21st Operations Group, take part in the event marking the official move of three Ground-based Electro-Optical Deep Space Surveillance Systems detachments to the 20th SPCS from direct control of the 21st Operations Group. (Courtesy photo)

WHITE SANDS MISSILE RANGE, New Mexico – Col. Troy L. Endicott, commander, 21st Operations Group, left, passes the guidon to Lt. Col. Mafwa Kuvibidila, 20th Space Control Squadron commander during a redesignation ceremony April 20. Maj. Daniel Coleman, far right, 20th SPCS Detachment 1 commander and Chief Master Sgt. Kristine Jones, superintendent, 21st Operations Group, take part in the event marking the official move of three Ground-based Electro-Optical Deep Space Surveillance Systems detachments to the 20th SPCS from direct control of the 21st Operations Group. (Courtesy photo)

WHITE SANDS MISSILE RANGE, New Mexico -- Military and contractor personnel assigned to 20th Space Control Squadron, Detachment 1 celebrated a new designation during a ceremony held April 20.  The redesignation does not prevent the detachment from continuing to perform its critical space surveillance mission.

"This realignment under the 20th SPCS will afford us the opportunity to work directly with, and for, an operational squadron performing the same mission as us," said Maj. Daniel Coleman, 20th SPCS, Det. 1 commander.  "Despite having different weapon systems, there is a lot of synergy to be gained from this move."

Det. 1, located on White Sands Missile Range, New Mexico, was previously aligned directly under the 21st Operations Group along with Det. 2, Diego Garcia, British Indian Ocean Territory, and Det. 3 at Maui, Hawaii. The sites are home to Ground-based Electro-Optical Deep Space Surveillance Systems.

Efforts to realign the three detachments under the 20th SPCS began in 2015 with the goal of combining units with the same primary mission area, Space Situational Awareness, under one roof.  The official realignment date was April 1.

The 20th SPCS tracks man-made objects in Earth's orbit, around the clock, in any weather, supporting the U.S. Strategic Command, commander-in-chief and theater warfighter's requirements through continuous surveillance of on-orbit satellites. It is already tasked with operating and maintaining the phased-array space surveillance system dedicated to tracking space objects.

All of the GEODSS sites play an important role in the safety and security of U.S. space assets, and have since they became operational in the 1980s. Technological improvements increased the system's capabilities and, along with realignment, are examples of efforts to make the Air Force as efficient as possible, Coleman said.

All three GEODSS detachments will remain part of the 21st OG, continuing to provide essential SSA data to the Joint Space Operations Center located at Vandenberg Air Force Base, California.

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