Air Force Shutters Space-Surveillance Telescope in Spain

The 21st Space Wing at Peterson AFB, Colo., closed the Morón Optical Space Surveillance System, a large telescope located in Morón, Spain, that helped detect, track, and identify man-made objects in deep space as part of the Air Force’s space-monitoring mission. The wing shuttered the telescope on March 31 and the Air Force is reassigning the 11 airmen who formerly operated and maintained the site who were known as the 21st Operations Group, Det. 4, according to Peterson’s April 5 release. The telescope began operating in 1998 to fill a coverage gap over the Mediterranean Sea. “MOSS was intended to be a short-term solution, but it has been in operation for 14 years and was becoming increasingly difficult to sustain,” said Lt. Col. Paul Tombarge, 21st OG commander. “With new space-surveillance systems online to address the coverage area and the increasing cost and difficulty to sustain MOSS, the decision was made to divest the system and reallocate the associated manpower and funding,” he added. (Peterson report by Steve Brady)