HomeAbout UsFact SheetsDisplay

Ground-Based Electro-Optical Deep Space Surveillance

The Ground-Based Electro-Optical Deep Space Surveillance facility at Detachment 2, in Diego Garcia, British Indian OceanTerritory is one of three operational sites worldwide. The facility tracks known manmade deep space objects in orbit around Earth. (U.S. Air Force photo)

The Ground-Based Electro-Optical Deep Space Surveillance facility at Detachment 2, in Diego Garcia, British Indian OceanTerritory is one of three operational sites worldwide. The facility tracks known manmade deep space objects in orbit around Earth. (U.S. Air Force photo)

Mission
The Ground-Based Electro-Optical Deep Space Surveillance System, or  GEODSS,  plays a vital role in tracking deep space objects. More than 2,500 objects, including geostationary communication satellites, are in deep space orbits varying in altitude from 10,000 to 45,000 kilometers from Earth.  

Approximately 20,000 known man-made objects in orbit around the Earth. These objects range from active payloads, such as weather satellites or Global Positioning System satellites  to "space junk" such as rocket bodies or debris from past satellite breakups.

U. S. Strategic Command's Joint Space Operations Center Space Situational Awareness Operations Cell, located at Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif., is responsible for tracking all man-made objects in orbit. The center receives on-orbit positional data, known as element sets, from the Space Surveillance Network which comprises optical and radar sensors throughout the world. This enables the center to maintain accurate data on every man-made object currently in orbit.    

There are three operational GEODSS sites that report directly to Air Force Space Command's  21st Operations Group, 21st Space Wing at Peterson AFB, Colo. They are: Detachment 1, Socorro, N.M.; Detachment 2, Diego Garcia, British Indian Ocean Territory; and Detachment 3, Maui, Hawaii.

Features
GEODSS performs its mission using a one-meter telescope that is equipped with a highly sensitive digital camera technology, known as Deep STARE. The operational GEODSS sites have three telescopes that are used in conjunction with each other or separately. These telescopes are able to "see" objects 10,000 times dimmer than the human eye can detect. As with any optical system, cloud cover and local weather conditions directly influence its effectiveness and can only operate at night. 

The Deep STARE system is able to track multiple satellites in the field of view. As the satellites cross the sky, the telescopes take rapid electronic snapshots, showing up on the operator's console as tiny streaks. Computers then measure these streaks and use the data to figure the current position of a satellite in its orbit. Star images, which remain fixed, are used as a reference or calibration points for each of the three telescopes. This data, known as observations, is then sent instantaneously to the Joint Space Operations Center Space Situational Awareness Operations Cell.

Background
The GEODSS system has been an important piece of U.S. Strategic Command's space situational awareness mission since the early 1980s.  In 2004, each site began using telescopes that were equipped with Deep STARE. This upgrade provided the site with some of the most accurate and sensitive optical telescopes in the world. The GEODSS system can track objects as small as a basketball more than 20,000 miles away and is a vital part of the AFSPC's space surveillance network.

Engage

Twitter
The Department of the Air Force will soon conduct focus groups with Total Force Airmen and Space Professionals abou… https://t.co/uPAlbUEYxt
Twitter
RT @AFGlobalStrike: For 50+ years, #MinutemanIII #ICBM fleet has underpinned our strategic force & played critical role in ensuring protect…
Twitter
RT @RealAFOSI: Between Oct. 20 and 21, 2020, Iranian threat actors conducted an information operations campaign by sending emails, masquera…
Twitter
Ready day or night The 8th Fighter Wing at @KunsanAirBase stands ready to conduct counter-air, air interdiction,… https://t.co/8FzXyQPwFo
Twitter
RT @SpaceForceDoD: Vice Chief of Space Operations tests positive for COVID-19 https://t.co/El9DBFkpAg
Twitter
Global reach Approximately 200 Airmen and four B-1B Lancer aircraft with the 9th Expeditionary Bomb Squadron from… https://t.co/XdxCzteeGx
Twitter
Small business partnerships 🤝 @AFWERX is recommending more than 250 proposals as part of its X20D Small Business… https://t.co/vzVcj7Idfc
Twitter
Rapid strategic delivery 📦 The 816th Expeditionary Airlift Squadron, deployed with @USAFCENT, is responsible for… https://t.co/WxSke8iXnG
Twitter
Fulfilling mission-critical requirements The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office recently granted the #USAF a patent… https://t.co/wtf5K6NITn
Twitter
RT @GenCQBrownJr: Looking forward to this dialogue today with Dr. Austin.
Twitter
Accelerating change Airmen from the 366th Fighter Wing and 389th Fighter Squadron participate in Agile Flag 21-1 a… https://t.co/07r8CmEgl9
Twitter
Rolling out new tech The Air Force Civil Engineer Center made its first delivery of a new medium-size explosive or… https://t.co/Gj0PUVeQ6S
Twitter
#InnovativeAF @NASA representatives presented new medical diagnostic technology, the E-Nose Breathalyzer, which wi… https://t.co/mUzpASXPGm
Twitter
Pitstop ⛽️ A C-17 Globemaster pilot checks the alignment of a KC-135 Stratotankers aerial refueling boom. The flyi… https://t.co/ovgj9rh3uV
Twitter
The 23rd Security Forces Squadron at Moody Air Force Base, Georgia, will be the first to receive the new system.… https://t.co/UsQNUTdoNE
Twitter
New EOD robots are coming 🤖 Over the next 16-18 months, the Air Force Civil Engineer Center will deliver 333 high… https://t.co/wCmAo5GzDm
Twitter
RT @WILLROP3R: (3 of 3) What commercial #deeptech project should @usairforce and @SpaceForceDoD start next? What else should we consider? 🤔…
Twitter
RT @WILLROP3R: (2 of 3) What commercial #deeptech project should @usairforce and @SpaceForceDoD start next? What else should we consider?…
Twitter
RT @WILLROP3R: (1 of 3) @usairforce is investing $100M with tech startups to make flying cars real. Today's AMA discussed what commercial #…
Facebook
The newest Air Force Podcast recently dropped. Listen to a small snippet of CMSAF Kaleth O. Wright talk with Staff Sgt. New about resiliency. Listen to the entire podcast on Youtube: https://go.usa.gov/xpnAD or Subscribe to The Air Force Podcast on iTunes: https://podcasts.apple.com/podcast/the-air-force-podcast/id1264107694?mt=2
Facebook
Our mantra, "Always ready!" It's the spirit we fly by! #B2Tuesday
Facebook
Need some motivation to get your week started off right? Listen as CMSAF Kaleth O. Wright weighs in...
Facebook
The U.S. Air Force Academy gives its cadets some unique opportunities. Ride along one of this opportunities.
Facebook
A United States Air Force KC-135 Stratotanker refuels an F-22 Raptor over northern Iraq, Nov. 6, 2019. U.S. Central Command operations deter adversaries and demonstrate support for allies and partners in the region. (Video by Staff Sgt. Daniel Snider)
Facebook
Although the Silver Star is the third-highest military medal, it's not given often. Today, TSgt Cody Smith was the 49th Special Tactics Airman to receive this medal since Sept. 11th, 2001. Read more of TSgt Smith's amazing story: https://www.airforcespecialtactics.af.mil/News/Article-Display/Article/2024815/special-tactics-airman-battled-through-injuries-awarded-silver-star/fbclid/IwAR2LZWwx1VHdTnQe39rIEBOuJS_0JvMQBBGt7I-E6zsxxn-Lx9387yu43Bc/ Cannon Air Force Base Air Force Special Operations Command United States Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) U.S. Department of Defense (DoD)
Facebook
Tune in as our Air Force musicians along with other military musicians are awarded the National Medal of Arts.
Facebook
Like Us
Twitter
1,298,485
Follow Us