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Fact Sheets

Processing Reentries of Space Objects - 18th Space Control Squadron

The 18th Space Control Squadron (SPCS) at Vandenberg Air Force Base, CA, is located 160 miles northwest of Los Angeles, CA.

- Defend freedom of action in space for the Joint Force, multinational partners and humanity

The squadron is tasked with providing 24/7 support to the space surveillance network (SSN), maintaining the space catalog and managing United States Space Command's (USSPACECOM) space situational awareness (SSA) sharing program to United States, foreign government, and commercial entities. The squadron also conducts advanced analysis, sensor optimization, conjunction assessment, human spaceflight support, reentry/break-up assessment, and launch analysis. In addition, 18 SPCS also oversees 18 SPCS Detachment 1, located in Dahlgren, VA.

The squadron is jointly located with the Combined Space Operations Center in Building 8401 at Vandenberg AFB, CA. The squadron operates Space Defense Operations Center (SPADOC) and the Astrodynamic Support Workstation (ASW) to task and receive observation data from the SSN and provide that data to DoD and non-DoD customers.

Approximately 64 military and 25 civil service people are permanently assigned to 18 SPCS. Around thirty military personnel are assigned to the operations flight, which is responsible for SPADOC and ASW operations. The remainder of the assigned military and civilian workers provide support and advanced functions in support of 18 SPCS operations.

The squadron enjoys a rich history of service. In 1966, the 18th Space Surveillance Squadron (SPSS) was activated at Edwards Air Force Base, CA, and operated the BakerNunn Camera satellite tracking system until the deactivation of the squadron in 1975. The 18 SPSS was then activated in 1990 to become part of the 1st Space Wing, Peterson AFB, CO, and manage the worldwide GEODSS detachments. Following its activation, 18 SPSS was relocated to Edwards AFB, CA, in 1995, renamed 18th SPCS in 2003, and deactivated in 2004. On July 22, 2016, 18 SPCS was reactivated at Vandenberg AFB, CA, to perform the SSA sensor tasking mission.