Samiksha Jaiswal (Editor)

18th Space Control Squadron

Updated on
Share on FacebookTweet on TwitterShare on LinkedInShare on Reddit
Active  1966-1975; 1990-2004
Type  Space Control
Country  United States
18th Space Control Squadron

Branch  United States Air Force
Role  Optical Space Surveillance
Part of  Air Force Space Command/14th Air Force/1st Space Wing/73d Space Surveillance Group

The United States Air Force's 18th Space Control Squadron (18 SPCS) was a space surveillance unit located at Edwards AFB, California. Before its inactivation, the 18th SPCS operated optical sensors for the Ground-based Electro Optical Deep Space System (GEODSS).



The mission of the 18th SPCS is to provide direct support to USCINCSPACE’s space control mission through optical space surveillance. This includes detection, tracking, identification, and special signature collection of near space and deep space objects.


18th SPSS was the optical portion of the United States Air Force's Space Surveillance Network. They were responsible for operating four worldwide GEODSS sites, in addition to the Transportable Optical System (TOS), and the Maui Space Surveillance Complex (MSSC). The focal point for all optical command and control was centralized at the Optical Command, Control and Communications Facility (OC3F). The 18 SPSS became part of the 1st Space Wing, Air Force Space Command, on 1 February 1990. The unit was reassigned from the 1st Space Wing to the 73d Space Group on 15 May 1992. The 18th SPSS relocated to Edwards Air Force Base, California in July 1995. The 73rd Space Group was inactivated in May 1995 and all units were then assigned to the 21st Space Wing. With a force-wide renaming of space units, the 18th SPSS became the 18th Space Control Squadron (18 SCS) in February 2003. This renaming did not last long, however, since the unit was inactivated in June 2004, with all detachments falling under the 21st Operations Group.

Major Command

  • Air Force Space Command (1 February 1990-2004)
  • Aerospace Defense Command (??-1 October 1975)
  • Air Defense Command (1 November 1966-??)
  • Numbered Air Force

  • 14th Air Force (1 February 1990-2004)
  • 14th Aerospace Force (???)
  • Wing/Group

  • 73d Space Group (1 July 1991-2004)
  • Detachments

  • 18 SPSS, Detachment 1 - Socorro, New Mexico
  • 18 SPSS, Detachment 2 - Diego Garcia, British Indian Ocean Territories
  • 18 SPSS, Detachment 3 - Maui, Hawaii
  • 18 SPSS, Detachment 4 - Morón AB, Spain
  • Previous designations

  • 18th Space Control Squadron (February 2003 - June 2004)
  • 18th Space Surveillance Squadron (1 November 1966-1 October 1975; 1 February 1990-???)
  • Bases stationed

  • Edwards AFB, California (1 November 1994-2004)
  • Peterson AFB, Colorado (1 February 1990-1 November 1994)
  • Edwards AFB, California (1 January 1967-1 October 1975)
  • Equipment Operated

  • Ground-based Electro Optical Deep Space Surveillance System (February 1990-2004)
  • Baker-Nunn satellite tracking cameras (January 1967-October 1975)
  • Decorations

  • Air Force Outstanding Unit Award
  • 1 October 1997-30 September 1999
  • 1 January 1998-31 December 1998
  • 1 October 1995-30 September 1997
  • 8 July 1970-7 July 1971
  • References

    18th Space Control Squadron Wikipedia