Geosynchronous Space Situational Awareness Program (GSSAP) Satellite
Published August 03, 2016
GSSAP satellites will be a space-based capability operating in the near-geosynchronous orbit regime supporting U.S. Strategic Command space surveillance operations as a dedicated Space Surveillance Network (SSN) sensor.
GSSAP satellites will support Joint Functional Component Command for Space (JFCC SPACE) tasking to collect space situational awareness data allowing for more accurate tracking and characterization of man made orbiting objects. From a near-geosynchronous orbit, it will have a clear, unobstructed and distinct vantage point for viewing Resident Space Objects (RSOs) without the interruption of weather or the atmospheric distortion that can limit ground-based systems. GSSAP satellites will operate near the geosynchronous belt and will have the capability to perform Rendezvous and Proximity Operations (RPO). RPO allows for the space vehicle to maneuver near a resident space object of interest, enabling characterization for anomaly resolution and enhanced surveillance, while maintaining flight safety. Data from GSSAP will uniquely contribute to timely and accurate orbital predictions, enhancing our knowledge of the geosynchronous orbit environment, and further enabling space flight safety to include satellite collision avoidance.
GSSAP satellites will communicate information through the world-wide Air Force Satellite Control Network (AFSCN) ground stations, then to Schriever Air Force Base, CO where 50th Space Wing satellite operators of the 1st Space Operations Squadron (1 SOPS) will oversee day-to-day operations.
Two GSSAP satellites were launched aboard a United Launch Alliance (ULA) Delta IV M+ (4,2) booster configuration from Cape Canaveral AFS, FL on July 28, 2014.
Mission: Space Surveillance
Primary Contractor: Orbital Sciences Corporation
Orbit: Approximately 22,300 miles (35,970 km)