Note: The following is a statement from the US Air Force
The US Air Force and its mission partners successfully launched the third and fourth Orbital ATK built Geosynchronous Space Situational Awareness Program (GSSAP) satellites aboard a United Launch Alliance Delta IV launch vehicle from Space Launch Complex 37, Cape Canaveral AFS, Florida at 12:52 a.m. EDT.
"Today's successful launch will enhance our capabilities in space situational awareness and our space-based space situational awareness architecture," said Lt. Gen. Samuel Greaves, SMC commander and Air Force program executive officer for space. "We will continue our unwavering focus on mission success and guaranteeing assured access to space for our nation. Congratulations to the AFSPC-6 integrated team and all mission partners on a successful launch."
The satellites join a GSSAP constellation currently supporting U.S. Strategic Command space surveillance operations as a dedicated Space Surveillance Network sensor. The GSSAP also supports the Joint Functional Component Commander for Space by collecting space situational awareness data, allowing for more accurate tracking and characterization of man-made orbiting objects.
SMC and its mission partners conducted the mission launch aboard a Delta IV Medium-plus configuration Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle. The EELV program was established by the United States Air Force to provide assured access to space for Department of Defense and other government payloads. The commercially developed EELV program supports the full range of government mission requirements, while delivering on schedule and providing significant cost savings over the heritage launch systems.
Air Force Space Command's Space and Missile Systems Center, located at Los Angeles Air Force Base, California, is the U.S. Air Force's center of acquisition excellence for acquiring and developing military space systems. Its portfolio includes the Global Positioning System, military satellite communications, defense meteorological satellites, space launch and range systems, satellite control networks, space based infrared systems and space situational awareness capabilities.