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Archive for the ‘Space’ Category

Space Force Embeds Cyber Squadrons into Delta Missions

Tuesday, November 1st, 2022

Schriever Space Force Base, Colo. —

The Orbital Defense Initiation, or ODIN, is Space Delta 9’s initial training course where new members gain common knowledge on orbital mechanics, warfare principles, current threats to space assets and more.

However, their most recent graduation included Guardians wearing patches other than DEL 9’s.

The three ODIN graduates from Space Delta 6’s 69th Cyber Squadron are part of a U.S. Space Force initiative to embed cyber and intel capabilities into space operations squadrons to speed up decision making and improve readiness. They will work side-by-side space operators and intelligence experts, providing cyber capability to operational missions.

“It’s important for cyber operators to have the same fundamental orbital warfare knowledge base as the space operators. It allows them to better understand and react to the issues that space operators encounter every day,” said USSF Capt. Melanie Mohseni, ODIN deputy flight commander. “It’s also necessary to have cyber expertise on the operations floor so that when we encounter cyber issues, we have those subject matter experts helping the crew commander make decisions.”

The 69th CYS is one of several squadrons being formed from the 61st CYS and aligned under DEL 6 administratively.

“We exist to defend their terrain. The mission of 69 CYS is to enable the protect and defend mission of Delta 9 through active cyber defense,” said USSF Lt. Col. Shane Warren, 61st CYS commander.

Space operations involves around-the-clock missions, with operational squadrons continuously manned. This initiative puts the right expertise in the room instead of on-call. Cyber operators attending a delta’s initial training course ensures everyone can speak the same language.

“It helps our operators to know what normal looks like,” said Warren. “If they see indicators that something doesn’t look normal in the terrain they’re monitoring, because they’re trained and sitting side-by-side, they can determine if there is potentially malicious activity and what can we do to stop it.”

The knowledge sharing flows in both directions. The space operators are getting more in-depth cyber knowledge as well.

“The first thing I discussed with the three recent ODIN cyber grads was them helping us develop a Cyber curriculum,” said Mohseni.

Since the initiative is at the ground level, DEL 6 is allowing many Guardians the chance to have a voice in their assigned operational cyber squadron, numbered in the 60’s to match the delta they support, with the 69th CYS supporting DEL 9, the 68th CYS supporting DEL 8 and so on.

“We describe to the Guardians, ‘this is the Space Domain Awareness mission, this is the Electromagnetic Warfare mission, this is the SATCOM mission,’ and ask, ‘What interests you the most?’,” said Warren.

According to Warren, there are roughly 175 Guardians in the 61st Cyber Squadron, with a large portion assigned to active and future squadrons according to their own inputs.

This initiative is not just making space operations squadrons more capable, it is also providing force development for the future of the USSF.

“This is how we develop senior master sergeants in the Space Force. We’ve tried to go beyond ‘I’m cyber, you’re intel.’ In the Space Force, we all work on space,” said USSF Senior Master Sgt. Charles Presley, 69th CYS superintendent. “A superintendent for a Space Force squadron could come from any operational background, so it’s important to expose the next generation of enlisted leaders to all aspects of the space enterprise as early in their career as possible.”

As the USSF builds its culture and forges its own identity, Guardians in cyber are one step closer. They are a weapon system, practicing their craft to safeguard and enhance the space mission.

“You can see the spark in these Guardian’s eyes when they come in,” said Warren. “They’re definitely excited, and we’ve got some really talented Guardians.”

DEL 6 plans to have cyber squadrons embedded in other space deltas, expanding capabilities to more USSF missions, in the near future, eventually shaping a future where everybody is looking at the same problem through different lenses, tackling the same problem with different skillsets.

By Mike Slater, Space Base Delta 1 Public Affairs

STARCOM Executes First JNTC-Accredited, Largest SPACE FLAG Exercise Ever

Saturday, September 10th, 2022

SCHRIEVER SPACE FORCE BASE, Colo. — Space Training and Readiness Command completed its first exercise iteration of SPACE FLAG (SPACE FLAG 22-3) since being accredited by the Joint Staff as a Joint National Training Capability.

SPACE FLAG is the first Department of Defense space exercise to receive JNTC-accreditation, joining the likes of the U.S. Air Force’s Red Flag and Green Flag exercises, as well as the U.S. Army’s Joint Warfighter Assessment and the U.S. Navy’s Fleet Synthetic Training.

SPACE FLAG 22-3, which ran from Aug. 8-19, was the largest iteration executed to date with approximately 120 participants from nearly a dozen U.S. Space Force Deltas, as well as members from the U.S. Air Force and the U.S. Army.

The U.S. Marine Corps’ Marine Space Support Team also imbedded members within the exercise, observing the Army’s 1st Space Brigade as part of an effort to integrate them as players in future iterations.

Considered a tactically-focused exercise, SPACE FLAG is designed to provide tactical space units with advanced training in a simulated contested, degraded and operationally-limited environment. The exercise is conducted using live, virtual and constructive simulations which immerse Guardians and participants into a synthetic virtual battlefield.

The 392d Combat Training Squadron’s organic BattleLab and Distributed Mission Operations Center presented a suite of simulators that allowed the training audience to exercise and refine combat tactics in space domain awareness, intelligence, warning and surveillance, navigation warfare, orbital warfare and satellite communications.

The exercise featured three vulnerability periods where combat missions were planned and then subsequently executed using high fidelity models to simulate warfighting effects.  Each vulnerability period grew in complexity, allowing the training audience to adjust and apply lessons learned in the previous period.

“I really enjoyed watching our Soldiers, Airmen, and Guardians mission plan and then prosecute the fight against realistic threats to space capabilities,” said U.S. Army Col. Donald Brooks, 1st Space Brigade commander and senior leader for SPACE FLAG’s third and most complex vulnerability period.

Building upon training objectives established in previous iterations, SPACE FLAG 22-3 presented realistic modeling that challenged players to consider complex astrodynamics while maneuvering and operating during simulated on-orbit combat engagements.

For the first time, the 5th Electronic Warfare Squadron participated in SPACE FLAG, giving space warfighters the opportunity to rehearse and visualize force packaging in ways not seen in any other exercise in the Department of Defense.

“My team spent the last six months working with tactical experts from the Army, the National Reconnaissance Office, and the Space Force to build the best exercise experience possible,” said U.S. Space Force 1st Lt. Deshawna Moore, SPACE FLAG 22-3 exercise director.  “SPACE FLAG plays a key role in ensuring space forces are ready to win should our nation call us to defend national interest in space.”

The next iteration of SPACE FLAG will occur in December, where STARCOM plans to train U.S. and Coalition space warfighters from multiple nations.

By Space Training and Readiness Command Public Affairs

Photos by Judi Tomich

Space Force – Orbital Warfare Mission

Monday, August 29th, 2022

The mission of Space Delta 9 – Orbital Warfare, headquartered at Schriever Space Force Base, Colorado, is to prepare, present, and project assigned and attached forces for the purpose of conducting protect and defend operations and providing national decision authorities with response options to deter and, when necessary, defeat orbital threats.

APNT/Space CFT Concludes High Altitude Experimentation

Thursday, August 25th, 2022

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. – The Assured Positioning, Navigation and Timing/Space (APNT/Space) Cross-Functional Team (CFT) has concluded a 64-day stratospheric flight demonstration utilizing Airbus’s Zephyr 8 ultra-long endurance solar-powered unmanned air system (UAS).

Launched from Yuma Proving Ground (YPG) on June 15, the Zephyr 8 UAS ascended to over 60,000 feet into the stratosphere before executing its flight plan over the southern portion of the United States, into the Gulf of Mexico, and over South America. Once returning to airspace over YPG, the team conducted multiple assessments.

On August 18 around 2100 hours PDT, the prototype aircraft’s flight campaign ended when the Zephyr 8 UAS encountered events that led to its unexpected termination over YPG. These events are under investigation. No injuries or risk to personnel or other aircraft resulted from this incident. Further information will be released following the investigation.

“Our team is working hard to gather and analyze important data following the unexpected termination of this flight,” said Michael Monteleone, Director of the APNT/Space CFT. “Despite this event, the Army and its partners have gleaned invaluable data and increased knowledge on the endurance, efficiency, and station keeping abilities of high-altitude UAS platforms. That knowledge will allow us to continue to advance requirements for reliable, modernized stratospheric capabilities to our Soldiers.”

This flight marked a number of firsts for Zephyr 8, including its departure from U.S. airspace, flight over water, flight in international airspace, data collection and direct downlink while outside of U.S. airspace, the longest continuous duration (7 days) utilizing satellite communications, and the demonstration of resilient satellite command and control from three different locations – Huntsville, AL; Yuma, AZ; and Farnborough, UK.

During this flight, Zephyr 8 more than doubled the previous UAS endurance record, just under 26 days, and flew in excess of 30,000 nautical miles – more than one lap around the Earth. The 1,500 flight hours beat all known unmanned aircraft endurance records, marking significant capability and informing future mission requirements.

This experimentation successfully demonstrated Zephyr’s energy storage capacity, flight endurance, station-keeping and agile positioning abilities.  Given the amount of data that was generated during the 64-day flight and the time required to analyze it, as well as the need to investigate the events that led to the termination, further flight demonstrations have been postponed until 2023.

This 64-day test flight was performed in conjunction with government and industry partners who support experimentation that continues to inform Army requirements.

-Army Futures Command

Project Arc Fosters Innovation Across Air and Space Force

Sunday, July 24th, 2022

PATRICK SPACE FORCE BASE, Fla. – Scientists and engineers across the U.S. Air and Space Force are being deployed to more than a dozen bases in the United States to develop innovative solutions to a variety of problems.

The Airmen and Guardians are part of Project Arc, a program that sends scientists and engineers to 13 bases in nine states where they use their skills to promote innovation and enhance mission efficiency.

“We need to be able to solve problems faster and with this program, we can put scientists and engineers side by side with operators to solve problems,” said Capt. Jason Goins, Air Force Technical Applications Center assistant director of operations and Project Arc manager.

“We talk about if we don’t accelerate change, we will lose,” Goins said. “And we know the next battlespace is going to be technologically focused. This is how we get after that. Our greatest strength is our diversity. Our advantage is our Airmen and Guardians. By taking advantage of their talents, we can deliver real time capabilities at the point of need.”

One Project Arc mechanical engineer deployed to Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii, in October 2021. That engineer cut a monthly inventory check from eight hours to 20 minutes by automating tasks and using weight-based systems, Goins said. This saves “five-man weeks a year” at one base.

A team of computer scientists at Joint Base Andrews, Maryland, in November 2021, developed a software prototype for centralizing repair facility work order management that accelerates the repair process and saves 2,000-man hours a year, the captain said. The innovation is currently being considered for implementation across the service.

“The acquisition processes are in place to develop solutions, but they can take time to manifest and implement, so we are here to look at problem sets that are small in nature but can be scaled quickly through the products we develop,” said Space Force 2nd Lt. Kevin Tran, Space Analysis Squadron developmental engineer, Wright Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio.

Tran is deployed to Patrick Space Force Base, Florida, where he works alongside Air Force 1st Lt. Kennith McLoud, Air Force Operations Test and Evaluations Center operations research analyst, who is deployed to Patrick from Eglin AFB, in Space Launch Delta 45’s innovation center, The Forge.

Since the duo arrived in April, they have met with several units at Patrick and Cape Canaveral Space Force Station. Those meetings identified several concerns including the damage corrosion causes, as well as the need for a medical training interface and a collaborative space launch environment where all launch data is centralized in one place.

“Corrosion is a big problem we are working on right now,” McLoud said. “Just from all the salt from the ocean and ultraviolet light, the environment is highly corrosive. Because of that the HVAC (heating, ventilation and air conditioning) chillers, which cool buildings and are supposed to last 15–20 years, are only lasting for four or five years.”

Research discovered corrosion was eating away the material the chillers are made of which eventually causes them to break down and be replaced.

Corrosion is also a concern of the 45th Logistics Readiness Squadron. The unit manages SLD 45’s government vehicle fleet.

“Many of those vehicles have to be serviced by a third-party company about every two years because the coating they’re using now isn’t holding up well,” McLoud said. “We discovered a silicon ceramic non-conductive coating that can be applied to multiple surfaces to prevent corrosion. That is something that can be used to extend the life of the chillers, protect government vehicles, and even extend the life of lighting fixtures.”

The coating can extend the life expectancy of HVAC systems and vehicles by at least four or five years, Tran added. This could lead to an estimated savings of $100,000 in annual maintenance costs.

Tran and McLoud are currently working on a dozen projects to enhance the space launch mission.

“Our adversaries are developing different ways to launch their payloads into orbit and if we don’t find ways to innovate, we will not be able to secure space and ensure access to space the way we want to,” Tran said. “We need to constantly push ourselves, take advantage of the expertise of our Airmen and Guardians, and help our warfighters. When we stop innovating, we start to lose the fight.”

McLoud echoed Tran’s sentiment and said he hopes Project Arc continues to grow.

“We have the capability, the Airmen and Guardians to do so many things,” he said. “We have people who know how to program, code, and so much more who can save money, several man hours, and enhance our mission, so why not? Let’s Invest in our Airmen and Guardians, so they can use their skills to advance our mission.”

By TSgt James Hodgman, Space Launch Delta 45 Public Affairs

USSF Announces Interservice Transfer Opportunities

Wednesday, June 22nd, 2022


The U.S. Space Force is accepting FY23 Interservice Transfer Program (IST) applications from June 15–30.
The IST allows qualified individuals from other uniformed services to apply for transfer to active duty in the Space Force to fill select career fields.
In order to be eligible, all applicants must meet the eligibility criteria in AFMAN 36-2032, Military Recruiting and Accessions.
The Space Force is accepting applications from active duty officers and enlisted personnel serving in the U.S. Air Force, Army, Navy and Marine Corps. Please note that sister service release is an essential part of the transfer process.
All specialty codes can apply; however, the transferee must be able to fill the select specialty codes in the Space Force. See here for both enlisted and officer specialty codes.
Please follow the FY23 USSF Interservice Transfer Application Process instructions to submit your application.

?Attached Reference 1 – USSF Enlisted & Officer Specialty Code Crosswalk

?Attached Reference 2 – Salesforce Website Application Instructions

?Attached Reference 3 – Transferring to the U.S. Space Force FAQs

?Sample Attachment 1 – FY23 IST Transfer Request Letter

?Sample Attachment 2 – FY23 IST CC Endorsement

?Sample Attachment 3 – IST Candidate Data Form

Secretary of the Air Force Public Affairs

US Space Force Issues Dress and Appearance Guidance

Wednesday, May 25th, 2022

Although they are still a long way from their own version of AFI 36-2903, the US Space Force has issued a memorandum establishing their own dress and appearance standards.

It covers Operational Camouflage Pattern Uniform as well as Service Dress, Maternity, and Mess Dress uniforms wear along with physical fitness uniforms.

This includes several new accoutrements.

Patches can be PVC or woven cloth versions.

The memorandum also goes over grooming standards which allow neck tattoos, facial hair and lipstick as well as nail polish guidance.

Read the full guidance here.

First Air Force Supports US Space Command as ‘Air Forces Space’

Wednesday, May 18th, 2022


The Department of Defense designated First Air Force as ‘Air Forces Space’ (AFSPACE), and the fifth service component to U.S. Space Command May 3.

The change postures First Air Force to provide airpower expertise and advocacy in support of USSPACECOM’s mission to conduct operations in, from and to space while integrating space power into the support of First Air Force’s homeland defense mission.

“As USSPACECOM continues to achieve key milestones towards reaching Full Operational Capability, the designation of AFSPACE and the realignment of Human Space Flight Support activities under AFSPACE demonstrates the rapid pace at which the command and components are moving to provide a safe and secure space environment,” said U.S. Army Gen. James H. Dickinson, U.S. Space Command commander. “AFSPACE has achieved an Initial Operating Capability, and like USSPACECOM, is at a point where it can credibly claim to be organized and effective for employing our enduring, no-fail supporting functions to the joint force and civil partners.”

Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. CQ Brown, Jr. named First Air Force as the USSPACECOM air component in February 2021. Following that, Gen. Mark Kelly, commander of Air Combat Command, established an Operational Planning Team to determine the resources required to meet the short and long-term demands for this new mission.

ACC is the force provider for AFSPACE, and existing Continental U.S. NORAD Region and Air Forces Northern roles, responsibilities and authorities.

On July 15, 2021, First Air Force, now AFSPACE, assumed the operational command and control of the Human Space Flight Support, or HSFS, mission, which was previously executed by the Combined Force Space Component Command at Vandenberg Space Force Base, California. This First Air Force mission is executed through its assigned Detachment 3 based at Patrick Space Force Base, Florida.

Det. 3, formerly commanded by Space Launch Delta 45, realigned under First Air Force during a redesignation and change of command ceremony held at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station, Florida, also that day. Air Force Lt. Gen. Kirk Pierce, commander, First Air Force, Continental U.S. NORAD Region, AFNORTH, and now AFSPACE, affirmed his team’s commitment to USSPACECOM.

“Space-based capabilities enable virtually every element of our national power, including diplomatic, information, military and economic,” said Pierce. “It’s an honor to support that larger picture with our actions at a personal level. This includes our new responsibility to plan, train and execute worldwide rescue and recovery of NASA astronauts during contingency operations.”

Human Space Flight Support operations are conducted by the Department of Defense when requested by NASA, and validated by the DoD. These operations include the contingency search and rescue of NASA and NASA-sponsored astronauts.

For all crewed space flights, Det. 3 oversees the training and posturing of rescue forces on alert at Patrick Space Force Base, Joint Base Charleston, South Carolina, and Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii. Additionally, Det. 3 is responsible for coordinating astronaut rescue and recovery, contingency landing site support, payload security, medical support, coordination of airlift/sealift for contingency operations, as well as other support services required in the event of a spacecraft emergency.

Det. 3 has a long and distinguished history working closely with NASA to plan and coordinate DoD rescue, recovery, and retrieval support for their crewed space missions.

“It’s immensely satisfying to take another step forward in the larger leap in our role as the Air Force component to U.S. Space Command,” Pierce said. “The First Air Force team appreciates being a valued joint partner in the defense of the Homeland in the air and space domains.”

CONR-1 AF (AFNORTH and AFSPACE) Public Affairs