US Space Force unit to monitor region beyond Earth's geosynchronous orbit

Team America: Solar System Police


The US Space Force has created a unit, the 19th Space Defense Squadron, to monitor activity in the region beyond Earth's geosynchronous orbit, all the way out to the Moon and yonder.

Commander of the 18th SDS, Lt. Col. Matt Lintker, confirmed the launch of the task force during a panel discussion at the intelligence and defense-focused C4ISRNet conference held virtually this week.

Lintker said the 19th SDS will be in charge of monitoring the area of space further out than our planet's geosynchronous equatorial orbit, a region officials called "xGEO" space. Space Force is mostly concerned with the operation and defense of its satellites for communications and navigation purposes, but it also keeps an eye on space for any military activity from foreign adversaries and also tracks space junk that could cause a risk to American interests.

Space Force also works closely with NASA, providing airspace security, search and rescue capabilities for the International Space Station crew, and more. In return, NASA conducts scientific research on behalf of the military. As NASA hopes to team up with private corporations to colonize the Moon, Space Force also needs to expand its remit further out into cislunar space to support future missions and capabilities.

"As NASA's human presence extends beyond ISS to the lunar surface, cislunar, and interplanetary destinations, and as US Space Force organizes, trains, and equips to provide the resources necessary to protect and defend vital US interests in and beyond Earth-orbit, new collaborations will be key to operating safely and securely on these distant frontiers," according to the Memorandum of Understanding [PDF] signed in 2020 by NASA's then administrator Jim Bridenstine and Space Force's chief of operations General John Raymond.

Efforts to launch the 19th SDS are being handled by the Space Systems Command. The unit will operate at the Dahlgren naval base in Virginia alongside the 18th Space Defense Squadron.

Chief of public affairs at Space Operations Command Mike Pierson said the latest squadron was set up on April 6 and will replace the 8th Space Defense Squadron's Detachment 1 team, based at Peterson Space Force Base, Colorado.

"The 19 SDS is responsible for providing continuous Space Domain Awareness (SDA) for government, civilian, and international users and to maintain continuous and transparent SDA to assure global freedom of action in space," Pierson said in a statement to Breaking Defense.

"Our goal is to provide foundational SDA in all regimes. Currently, we don't have sensors or systems with dedicated xGEO mission responsibility. However, we are keenly interested in innovative approaches to ensure freedom of access and understanding for the US and our allies in all orbital regimes, including beyond GEO."

US Space Force and the Space Operations Command were not immediately available for comment. ®

PS: It's true, scientists have recommended that NASA takes a deep, long look into... the Solar System's seventh planet.


Other stories you might like

  • Liftoff at last for South Korean space program
    Satellite-deploying rocket finally launches – after a few setbacks

    South Korea's Aerospace Research Institute (KARI) yesterday succeeded in its endeavor to send the home-grown Nuri launcher into space, then place a working satellite in orbit.

    The launch was scheduled for earlier in June but was delayed by weather and then again by an anomaly in a first-stage oxidizer tank. Its October 2021 launch failed to deploy a dummy satellite, thanks to similar oxidizer tank problems that caused internal damage.

    South Korea was late to enter the space race due to a Cold War-era agreement with the US, which prohibited it developing a space program. That agreement was set aside and yesterday's launch is the culmination of more than a decade of development. The flight puts South Korea in a select group of nations that have demonstrated the capability to build and launch domestically designed and built orbital-class rockets.

    Continue reading
  • AWS sent edgy appliance to the ISS and it worked – just like all the other computers up there
    Congrats, AWS, you’ve boldly gone where the Raspberry Pi has already been

    Amazon Web Services has proudly revealed that the first completely private expedition to the International Space Station carried one of its Snowcone storage appliances, and that the device worked as advertised.

    The Snowcone is a rugged shoebox-sized unit packed full of disk drives – specifically 14 terabytes of solid-state disk – a pair of VCPUs and 4GB of RAM. The latter two components mean the Snowcone can run either EC2 instances or apps written with AWS’s Greengrass IoT product. In either case, the idea is that you take a Snowcone into out-of-the-way places where connectivity is limited, collect data in situ and do some pre-processing on location. Once you return to a location where bandwidth is plentiful, it's assumed you'll upload the contents of a Snowcone into AWS and do real work on it there.

    Continue reading
  • NASA tricks Artemis launch computer by masking data showing a leak
    Plus it aborts ISS reboost. Not the greatest start to the week, was it?

    NASA engineers had to work fast to avoid another leak affecting the latest Artemis dry run, just hours after an attempt to reboost the International Space Station (ISS) via the Cygnus freighter was aborted following a few short seconds.

    The US space agency on Monday rolled the huge Artemis I stack back to its Florida launchpad having worked through the leaks and problems that had beset its previous attempt at fueling the beast in April for an earlier dress rehearsal of the final countdown.

    As propellant was loaded into the rocket, controllers noted a hydrogen leak in the quick-disconnect that attaches an umbilical from the tail service mast on the mobile launcher to the core stage of the rocket.

    Continue reading

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2022