The Operations Group is responsible for program management and operation of five squadrons which perform all Eastern Range launch operations.
1st Range Operations Squadron
The 1st Range Operations Squadron is where the worlds finest spacelift and Range operations professionals work as a team to ensure mission success of spacelift, ballistic, and aeronautical test missions. The 1st ROPS provides world-wide customers: high quality, requirements tailored, range operations, operations support management, and scheduling services.
45th Range Management Squadron
The 45th Range Management Squadron provides range systems engineering, operations, and maintenance expertise to ensure mission success. The squadron provides the expertise required to keep the Eastern Range Green for launch operations and executes the 45th Space Wing’s Chief of Maintenance responsibilities for the Launch and Test Range System. Assigned responsibilities include contract surveillance, requirements management, and operations acceptance for range systems. The squadron’s personnel serve as technical experts who direct anomaly resolution, commit instrumentation for launch, and produce engineering analyses. Additionally, the squadron provides information assurance for Eastern Range instrumentation systems and operates the 45th Space Wing’s Precision Measurement Equipment Laboratory.
45th Weather Squadron
The 45th Weather Squadron provides a ‘Go/No-Go’ weather recommendation for every space launch from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station and Kennedy Space Center. The 45th WS coordinates weather operations requirements with Department of Defense, National Reconnaissance Office, National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), and commercial launch agencies to provide tailored weather services and equipment to support all phases of launch operations: generation, execution, and recovery. The 45th WS also provides 24/7 weather warnings and forecasts for the Eastern Range. This includes weather support for aviation operations at Patrick Air Force Base and Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. This also includes weather safety for over 25 thousand personnel and resource protection for over 20 billion dollars of facilities. Because of the stringent requirements of the space launch customers and the subtlety of local weather, the 45th WS uses one of the densest and most diverse weather sensor networks on the planet.
The 45th Weather Squadron has a very unique organizational structure that enables the unit to provide such a wide array of support to very weather-sensitive missions. Due to the dangerous nature of launch business and the importance of weather to the mission, the squadron is led by a Colonel who acts as weather Subject Matter Expert to senior Air Force and NASA leadership during launch countdowns. The squadron is organized in an Operations Flight, a Training Flight, and a Systems Division. The Operations Flight provides weather support for the generation, execution, and recovery phase of all operations that take place on the Eastern Range, along with airfield forecasts and around-the-clock resource protection for Patrick AFB, Cape Canaveral, and Kennedy Space Center, ensuring 25,000 people and $20B worth of buildings and assets are safe. The Training Flight sets the foundation for everything that happens within the squadron, by training and evaluating all squadron members, forecasting and enforcing future training requirements, and ensuring compliance will all applicable rules and regulations. The Systems Division is responsible for monitoring the maintenance of a $80M weather super-system, while continually developing requirements for new equipment and pursuing new and diverse avenues to correct operational deficiencies that enhance operational weather support, along with scientific services such as climatology, developing new forecast techniques, and technical consultation to the 45th Space Wing and Kennedy Space Center.
45th Operations Support Squadron
The 45th Operations Support Squadron provides combat capabilities and assured access to air and space through support of launch range, and expeditionary operations. In fulfilling its mission, the 45th OSS provides a variety of functions directly related to 45th Space Wing's launch operations.
The Current Operations Flight manages a variety of programs on Patrick Air Force Base and Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla. This flight manages the 45th Space Wing's Crisis Action Team by preparing for crisis events, training senior leaders and staff, and developing policies and procedures to guide the wing in emergencies. The Current Operations flight manages the 45 OG/CC’s Operation Status brief for all senior leaders and launch customers on the Eastern Range creating a common operation picture for the launch enterprise. Lastly, the flight provides wing training policy and guidance for more than 60 space launch operators. They coordinate instructor training for all 45th Operations Group mission-ready personnel, as well as directly assist the operations squadrons in improving their unit training programs. The training team serves as the Operations Group interface with higher headquarters on all new training requirements and procedures.
The 45th Airfield Operations Flight manages the Patrick AFB and CCAFS airfields and provides air traffic control services in support of the space launch range, tenant units, and the National Airspace System. Airfield Management oversees the overall quality and safety of the airfield. They also provide transient and base-assigned aircraft and flight crew services and has supported numerous multi-service deployments and humanitarian missions.
The Weapons and Tactics flight is comprised of both MR operators and Intelligence personnel. The flight is the wing's steward in many facets to include support to 14th Air Force and U.S. Strategic Command exercises, Space Warfighter Education courses, Post Operation Launch Assessments, Operation Review Boards and Unclassified Read Files and Current Intelligence Briefs. Also, they retain personnel with instructor and evaluator status who support operational and training debriefs as well as developing tactics, techniques and procedures.
The 45th Maintenance Flight manages the Air Traffic Control and Landing Systems, Transient Alert and Aerospace Ground Equipment maintenance activities. The ATCALS section maintains the Patrick, Cape and Kennedy airfield control and landing systems along with day of launch support at 15 different facilities across over 2,500 miles with an account valued at over $7.2M in assets. The TA and AGE sections are contracted services surveilled by dedicated Contract Officer Representatives. The two COR’s oversee all aircraft and aerospace ground equipment maintenance activities for Patrick The Cape; including support of all scheduled and unscheduled aircraft support, day of launch support, national defense and POTUS missions with equipment valued at over $3.7M in assets.
45 Space Communications Squadron
The 45th Space Communications Squadron is responsible for guaranteed, protected access to a full range of data, information and services while providing a climate of trust, respect and equal opportunity emphasizing accountability, recognition and improvement of people and processes.
The Operations Flight maintains mission-ready C4I including closed-circuit television, wideband communications and client training, and provides protected communications and information infrastructure including voice, video, network and customer services.
The Plans and Resources flight manages communications plans, programs and policies facilitating system integration, architecture and office automation.
The Spectrum Mission Flight executes the 45 SW Commander's spectrum management mission as well as conducts frequency control, surveillance and analysis for spacecraft transport and day-of-launch operations to include special electromagnetic missions.
Detachment 3, 45th Operations Group
Detachment 3, of the 45th Operations Group, coordinates DoD contingency support for our nation's human space flight programs. Chartered in 1959 by the Secretary of Defense as the DoD Mercury Support Office [later renamed DoD Manned Space Flight Support Office, its express purpose is providing DoD support to our nation's human space flight programs . . . putting people into space and returning them safely to Earth. Since its inception, this unit has continued to be the principle facilitator for all DoD nominal and contingency support to Projects Mercury, Gemini, and Apollo; the Apollo/Soyuz Test Project; the Space Shuttle Program; the International Space Station (ISS)/Soyuz Program; the Orion Program; and the Commercial Crew Program.
The Commander of U.S. Strategic Command (CDRUSSTRATCOM) is designated in the Presidential Unified Command Plan as the DoD Manager for Human Space Flight Support (HSFS) Operations. CDRUSSTRATCOM’s HSFS responsibilities and authorities include validating DOD operational resources requested by NASA, with the intent of supporting NASA with unique capabilities without adversely impacting principle DoD missions. As the DoD Manager’s primary support staff, 45 OG Det 3 (re-designated in 2008 from DDMS) remains the principle DoD liaison for coordinating support for NASA's human space flight operations. While 45 OG Det 3 is OPCON/ADCON under the 45 Space Wing, it remains TACON under the Deputy DoD Manager for HSFS, CDR JFCC SPACE.
Det. 3 is responsible for coordinating astronaut rescue and recovery, contingency landing site support, payload security, medical support, coordination of airlift/sealift for contingency operations, as well as other support services required in the event of a spacecraft emergency. The office further develops functional/operational documents with USSTRATCOM and coordinates with elements of the military departments, combatant commands, DoD agencies, and other USG agencies, and then monitors the status of those forces during mission execution. During HSFS launch and recovery events, 45 OG Det 3 activates the Support Operations Center (SOC) at Patrick AFB which maintains contact with NASA and the Joint Space Operations Center (JSpOC) at Vandenberg AFB. Additionally, 45 OG Det 3 has liaison officers (LNO) at the Johnson Space Center in Houston and USSTRATCOM at Offutt AFB.
Read the full Det. 3 fact sheet here.
45th Operations Group, Standardization and Evaluation (45 OG/OGV)
The primary mission of OGV is to evaluate operations crew member performance and provide feedback to unit commanders on operational readiness and effectiveness of mission ready training. In addition, OGV also standardizes Day of Launch processes and procedures for the 45th Operations Group. To accomplish this broad mission, OGV develops, maintains, and implements a robust standardization and evaluation program for 7 mission ready positions, and oversees evaluations in 4 specialized training certification positions and 5 on-the-job training positions.
In addition, OGV ensures compliance with AF, AFSPC, and NAF Spacelift operations policy and procedures via Inspections, Launch Operations, Mission Dress Rehearsals, and Integrated Crew Exercises. Finally, OGV manages the quarterly Group Operations Review Panel and serves as the group monitor for the self-assessment program.
(Current as of July 2017)