Space and Missile Systems Center

Space and Missile Systems Center

Infobox Military Unit
unit_name= Space and Missile Systems Center

caption= Space and Missile Systems Center emblem
dates= July 1954–Present
country= United States
branch= Air Force
type= Space systems development
and operations
size= 1,125 military
1,197 civilian
2,180 contractor
command_structure= Air Force Space Command
garrison= Los Angeles AFB, California
commander1= [ Lt Gen John T. Sheridan]
commander1_label= Commander
commander2= [ Mr. Douglas L. Loverro]
commander2_label= Executive Director
commander3= [ Brig Gen Susan K. Mashiko]
commander3_label= Vice Commander

The Space and Missile Systems Center (SMC) is a part of Air Force Space Command of the United States Air Force. According to the SMC, its mission is to conduct research and development of U.S. military space and missile systems.cite web | url= | title=Fact Sheets : Space and Missile Systems Center : Space and Missile Systems Center | author=US Air Force | publisher=SMC] The command is also responsible for acquisition, on-orbit testing, and sustainment of several existing programs. It also provides functional staff support for silo based ICBM programs. In addition, SMC supports Air Force Space Command at Peterson AFB, Colorado, with launch operations, on-orbit satellite tracking, data acquisition, and command and control for Department of Defense satellites. [cite web | url= | title=Space and Missile Systems Center (U) | author=Federation of American Scientists]

The center has an annual total budget in excess of $10 billion per year and manages between $50 and $60 billion in contracts at any one time.


The SMC is the Air Force "center of technical excellence" for researching, developing and purchasing military space systems. It's also responsible for on-orbit check-out, testing, sustainment and maintenance of military satellite constellations and other DoD space systems.


Space Superiority Systems Wing

The Space Superiority Systems Wing equips US forces with offensive and defensive counterspace and space situation awareness systems to gain, maintain, and exploit space superiority. It directs the planning, development, testing, deployment, and sustainment of a complex and dynamic portfolio of space-superiority capabilities of the highest national priority. [cite web |url= | title=Fact Sheet - Space Superiority Systems Wing | author=US Air Force | publisher=SMC] "The visible sensor on the SBSS satellite will be used to provide critical information vital to the protection of US military and civilian satellites," said Lt Col Robert Erickson, squadron commander for Space Based Space Surveillance within the Space Superiority Systems Wing. [cite web | url= | title=Boeing Completes Critical Design Review for Space Based Space Surveillance | date=2007-01-08 | author=Boeing]

Global Positioning Systems Wing

The Global Positioning Systems Wing manages the fleet of NAVSTAR GPS satellites as well as their associated ground control equipment and end-user technologies for the entire Global Positioning System. In addition to the not-yet-launched GPS Block IIF produced by Boeing Integrated Defense Systems [cite web | url= | title=Boeing: Integrated Defense Systems - GPS IIF/III Home | author=Boeing] , the GPS Systems Wing recently awarded the design and production of GPS Block IIIA satellites to Lockheed Martin under the GPS modernization program. [cite web | url= | title=U.S. Air Force Awards Lockheed Martin Team $1.4 Billion Contract To Build GPS III Space System | author=Lockheed Martin | date=2008-05-15] Day to day operations of the constellation are provided by the 50th Space Wing at Schriever AFB, Colorado.cite web | url= | title=Fact Sheets : 50th Space Wing| author=US Air Force | publisher=SMC]

Launch and Range Systems Wing

The mission of the Launch and Range Systems Wing is to develop and acquire launch vehicles under the Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle (EELV) program, manage launch integration, mission assurance and launch campaigns, and provide range systems for space launch operations and ballistic missile and aeronautical testing at the Eastern and Western Ranges. [cite web | url= | title=Fact Sheets : Launch and Range Systems Wing | author=US Air Force | publisher=SMC] After the Challenger accident, the Air Force initiated a program to develop a mixed fleet of expendable launch systems. This program led initially to the development of the Delta II rocket. [cite web | url= | title=Boeing: Delta Rocket History | author=Boeing] The EELV program was initiated in the mid-90s as a launch system modernization program which led to the development of the Boeing Delta IV rocket and Lockheed Martin Atlas V. [cite web | url= | title=EELV Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle |] All of these launch system programs are managed through the Launch and Range Systems Wing. Beginning in December 2006, Boeing and Lockheed Martin merged their launch services into the United Launch Alliance joint venture which provides Delta II, Delta IV, and Atlas V launch systems. [cite web | url= | title=Boeing and Lockheed Martin Complete United Launch Alliance Transaction | publisher=Boeing | date=2006-12-01]

Military Satellite Communications Systems Wing

The Military Satellite Communications Systems Wing (MILSATCOM Wing) is responsible for the development, acquisition, and sustainment for all space-based, global communications links for the Department of Defense and National Command Authority. The Wing currently maintains two constellations: the Defense Satellite Communications System (DSCS) and the Milstar system. In addition to these two existing systems, they are also responsible for the development and acquisition of three follow on systems intended to replace or augment current systems. These systems are the Wideband Global SATCOM system which will replace the DSCS system, the Advanced Extremely High Frequency system which will augment the Milstar system, and the Transformational Satellite Communications System (TSAT). Day-to-day operations of the military satellite communications systems are handled by the 50th Space Wing at Schriever AFB.

Space-Based Infrared Systems Wing

The mission of the Space-Based Infrared Systems Wing is develop and manage the Space-Based Infrared System (SBIRS) for space-based surveillance. The SBIRS program is intended to complement and eventually replace the Defense Support Program spacecraft originally developed to provide early warning for global ICBM launches. The Space-Based Infrared Systems Wing is responsible for the development and acquisition of the SBIRS-High spacecraft and the advanced mission control station. On August 5th, 2008 Lockheed Martin announced that the first SBIRS Highly Elliptical Orbit (HEO) payload (HEO-1) had been handed over on-orbit to the Air Force, along with its associated ground system. [cite web | url= | title=Lockheed Martin SBIRS Team Completes On-Orbit Handover Of First HEO Payload To U.S. Air Force | publisher=Lockheed Martin |date=2008-08-05] The HEO-2 payload was announced to be on-orbit June 20th, 2008. [cite web | url= | title=U.S. Air Force/Lockheed Martin SBIRS Team Completes On-Orbit Checkout of Second HEO Payload | publisher=Lockheed Martin |date=2008-06-20]

Space Development and Test Wing

The Space Development and Test Wing co-located with AFRL's Space Vehicles Directorate and the Operationally Responsive Space Office at Kirtland AFB, New Mexico develops, tests and evaluates Air Force space systems, executes advanced space development and demonstration projects, and rapidly transitions capabilities to production quality space systems. The Wing is organized into to primary groups. The Space Test Group is responsible for the on-orbit operation of experimental space systems and operates two Satellite Operations Centers (at Schriever AFB and Kirtland AFB). The Space Development Group administers the Space Test Program for the Department of Defense and conducts research into advanced and responsive space systems.

526th ICBM Systems Wing

The 526th ICBM Systems Wing located at Hill AFB, Utah maintains responsibility for the entire Minuteman ballistic missile weapon system from creation to decommissioning. The Minuteman III system is the only land-based ICBM still in service in the United States based on actions taken due to the START II and SORT arms control treaties. These treaties led to the decommissioning of the entire Peacekeeper weapon system. It has been proposed that all nuclear weapons systems be transfered to a new major command which would include all ICBM weapons.

DMSP Systems Group

The Defense Meteorological Satellite Program Systems Group United States armed forces with weather and space environmental data for planning and executing aerospace, ground, and naval operations. The program develops, acquires and sustains satellites, sensors and ground systems to meet Defense needs. The group provides launch support, early orbit operations and spacecraft anomaly resolution for the program with the Department of Commerce gaining day-to-day operations responsibility in 1998. The successor to the DMSP system is the NPOESS program which is being jointly developed by NASA with oversight from the DoD, NOAA, and NASA.

Satellite Control and Network Systems Group

The Satellite Control and Network Systems Group's mission is to modernize and sustain the $1.2B Air Force Satellite Control Network (AFSCN) systems including two control nodes and nine worldwide remote tracking stations to assure responsive, effective, satellite support to Defense forces. The group provides highly reliable command and control to support DoD, Civil and NRO satellite launch and satellite operations in surveillance, navigation, communications and weather.

Missile Defense Space Systems Group

Missile Defense Systems Group's mission objectives include developing space technologies that support the Missile Defense Agency's space assets. These technologies include sensors, space qualified components, optics and algorithms. The Space Applications Center of Excellence will play a lead role in any future space initiatives undertaken by MDA and facilitate the integration of External ONIR Sensors. MDA develops and acquires national missile defense systems for defense of the U.S. while maintaining technology options for future missile defense needs.

Space Radar Office

Space-Based Radar is a system that will provide a range of radar-generated products from space to enhance the nation's Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance (ISR) capabilities. The Space Radar Office acts as the Integrated Program Office for managing the development and acquisition of the system for both the Department of Defense and the United States Intelligence Community.


External links

* [ Los Angeles Air Force Base] (Official)

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