Air Force Space Command’s two “neighborhood watch” Geosynchronous Space Situational Awareness Program (GSSAP) satellite constellations? attained initial operational capability in late September, AFSPC announced Oct. 7. The satellites, launched last July, will complement the low-earth orbit Space Based Space Surveillance system, by providing similar object-tracking in geosynchronous orbit. GSSAP “will improve our ability to rapidly detect, warn, characterize, and attribute disturbances to space systems” according to AFSPC’s release. “The system reduces the likelihood of space collision, increases safety in this domain,” and will support US Strategic Command’s space-based awareness mission. The satellites, which are equipped with electro-optical sensors, were announced for the first time early last year. They are designed to last until replacement satellites, which are planned for launch next year, become operational.
The U.S. supports “a stronger and more capable” European defense, Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III said during an Oct. 22 press conference in Brussels—but that defense should not duplicate the functions and capabilities of the NATO alliance.