5th Space Operations Squadron

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5th Space Operations Squadron
5th Space Operations Squadron.png
5 SOPS emblem
Active 1993–1995
Country United States
Branch United States Air Force
Type Combat Support
Role Satellite Operations
Size 35 military
Part of USAF Group
Garrison/HQ Onizuka Air Force Station
Motto Pioneers of Space

The United States Air Force's 5th Expeditionary Space Operations Squadron (5 ESOPS) is an expeditionary satellite operations unit administratively assigned to Schriever AFB, Colorado.


The 5th Space Operations Squadron was a component of the 50th Operations Group, 50th Space Wing, before being inactivated in 1995. 5 SOPS was responsible for day-to-day command and control for the DSCS III satellites and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization communications satellite program. The squadron had prime launch responsibility for DSCS III, NATO IV/Skynet IV and the Inertial Upper Stage booster.


5th SOPS rose out of the rich history of the Air Force Satellite Control Facility. The squadron was provisionally activated as Operating Location-A, 750th Space Group, on October 1, 1992. This satellite control facility established one of the Air Force's major roles in space: satellite operations. AFSCF was later divided into the 2nd Space Test Group and the Consolidated Space Test Center on October 1, 1987 when AFSPC took over Onizuka Air Force Base, now Onizuka Air Station. OL-A encompassed the CSTC divisions of VOS, VOE, and VOD. 5th SOPS was officially activated November 22, 1993 under the 50th Operations Group and within one year, 21st SOPS absorbed the roles of the 2nd Satellite Tracking Group Operations Division and the 1999th Communications Squadron Operations Division. After the 1995 Base Realignment and Closure Committee directed realignment of Onizuka AFS, 21st SOPS absorbed the roles of the 750th Space Group and all subordinate units and the 5th Space Operations Squadron.

In a three-week span, in late 1993, the squadron flawlessly launched a DSCS III and a NATO IV communication satellite, supported NASA's Hubble telescope repair and activated as the 5th Space Operations Squadron. The squadron has launched the IUS in support of NASA programs including all seven TDRS and three inter-planetary spacecraft: Galileo (Jupiter), Magellan (Venus), and Ulysses (Sun).

Previous designations

  • 5th Expeditionary Space Operations Squadron (5 Dec 2007–Present)[1]
  • 5th Space Operations Squadron (1993-199?)


Satellites operated


  1. 1.0 1.1 AFSPC Special Order GD-006, 4 Jan 2008
  2. Onizuka AFS Home Page
  3. Force Enhancement - Air University

External links