18th Space Defense Squadron

Provide and advance a continuous, comprehensive, and combat-relevant understand of the space situation

Services provided through www.space-track.org

E-mail us at 18SPCS.doo.customerservice@us.af.mil

Our Mission

The 18 SDS uses sensors from the Space Surveillance Network to find and track all artificial objects in space. The 18 SDS maintains the Satellite Catalog (SATCAT) and is currently at over 52,000 cataloged objects. We receive thousands of tracking observations every day and utilize this information to maintain custody of all Resident Space Objects. We are currently tracking around 45,000 objects on orbit.

Services We Provide

Conjunction Assessment (No Cost)

The 18 SDS screens all objects for close approaches against each other (satellites, rocket bodies, debris). If we have contact information, we provide Conjunction Assessment (CA) data to them automatically. We are currently creating more than 735,000 messages per day. All you have to do is register your satellite using the form available on www.space-track.org

Space Situational Awareness Sharing

Basic services are available to any person or organization with an account on Space-Track. These include TLEs, conjunction data, and reentry information. Having public contact information allows easy coordination with other satellite owner/operators. We won’t share any of your information unless you give us permission.

We can provide high accuracy data and support at no cost and facilitate communication and cooperation.

The 18 SDS will not recommend courses of action or tell an operator what to do. 18 SDS will provide information so that you can make an informed decision.

Advanced Services

Advanced services such as historical data can be requested. For a one time request, you can submit an “Orbital Data Request.” For long-term advanced support, you will need to sign an “SSA Sharing Agreement” with U.S. Space Command that will be facilitated through the 18 SDS. This is still at no cost.

How Can You Help?

  • Mission Design Considerations
    • Consider human life: below the ISS is safer
    • Is it big enough to be seen for tracking? (>1U in LEO is optimal; if you’re not sure, we recommend a tracking enhancement device)
    • Recommend using a unique satellite name
  •  Register on www.Space-Track.org and talk to the 18th. We love to hear from CubeSat owners
  • On-Orbit
    • Tell us which one is yours after launch
    • Let us know if your satellite can maneuver
    • Let us know when your satellite has reached end of mission

Forging Our Relationship

  • Register on www.Space-Track.org
  • Contact us at 18SPCS.doo.customerservice@us.af.mil
    • Let us know about your launch and your satellite
    • Provide contact information for your operators
    • We’ll set up an organization account and link the appropriate people to it
    • Once your satellite is identified, it’ll also be linked to the account
  • We’ll work with you to identify your satellite after launch
  • Once on orbit, we’ll track your satellite and provide orbital info (TLEs) daily
  • We’ll alert you if any other objects get close to your satellite (Conjunction Assessment)

Multi-Payload Launch Procedures

  • TLEs are published in the public catalog when we have enough tracking data and the TLEs are judged to be good quality
    • At first, they will be named OBJECT A, OBJECT B, etc
  • For single satellite launches, we’ll have everything catalogued within a day or two, but multi-payload launches can take several days. Identifying the satellites can take weeks
  • We rely on you, the small satellite owner, to tell us which object is your satellite

Vice President Kamala Harris on the 18 SDS

 E-mail us at 18SPCS.doo.customerservice@us.af.mil

Follow us on Twitter! @18thSDS

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