Colorado SpringsMilitaryNews

Space Force: A timeline

Authors: Tom Roeder, The Gazette, Tony Peck, The Gazette - June 25, 2018 - Updated: June 25, 2018

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Vice President Michael Pence gives opening remarks in the International Center at the 34th Space Symposium at the Broadmoor Hotel in Colorado Springs on April 16. (Nadav Soroker, The Gazette)

The relationship between Space Command and Colorado Springs dates back 36 years. Here’s a look at what came before President’s Donald’s Trump’s call for a new space force:

July 26, 1947 – President Harry S. Truman signs the National Security Act, creating the Department of the Air Force.

Sept. 1, 1982 – The Air Force activates Space Command, which is established at Peterson Air Force Base a few months later.

April 22, 1983 – Space Command assumes responsibility for the development of the MILSTAR satellite system – a constellation of satellites providing secure worldwide communications for the U.S. military. Space Command later takes on missile warning and weather satellites.

Jan. 1, 1984 – Space Command assumes responsibility for the Global Positioning System.

Sept. 23, 1985 – United States Space Command activated at Peterson Air Force Base. This combatant command oversees the space efforts of all armed services and includes soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines on its staff.

Sept. 26, 1985 – The Consolidated Space Operations Center opens at Schriever Air Force Base. This center, still in use, commands the nation’s military satellites.

Oct. 1, 1990 – Air Force Space Command assumes responsibility for space launch, gaining Patrick Air Force Base and Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla., along with Vandenberg Air Force Base.

July 1, 1993 – Air Force Space Command assumes responsibility for the U.S. intercontinental ballistic missile mission.

Nov. 1, 1993 – Air Force Space Command’s Space Warfare Center activated at Falcon Air Force Base, Colorado.

Oct. 1, 2000 – Buckley Air National Guard Base renamed Buckley Air Force Base and transferred from the state of Colorado to Air Force Space Command. It is home to the Aerospace Data Facility, a secretive home for information gathered from spy satellites.

Jan. 11, 2001 – Space Commission report sets the stage for significant organizational and mission changes for Air Force Space Command.

April 19, 2002 – Air Force Space Command becomes a separate four-star level Air Force command.

Oct. 1, 2002 – U.S. Space Command inactivated, and its space mission transferred to U.S. Strategic Command. Air Force Space Command takes over as the military’s lead agent for space missions.

Jan 11, 2007 – China shows off its anti-satellite capability, destroying one of its own aging satellites and creating a cloud of debris in orbit.

Feb. 20, 2008 – The U.S. launches its own anti-satellite mission. Operation Burnt Frost shot down an aging U.S. satellite using a ship-based missile.

2009 – Space Command gets a new cyber mission, prepares to give up control of nuclear missiles.

April 22, 2010 – America launches the X-37 space drone, a space shuttle-style vehicle that can maneuver in orbit. The classified mission lasts for 224 days.

2012 – Space Command kicks of an “architecture review” aimed at redesigning the military’s approach to space.

Sept 11, 2015 – Colorado Springs picked to house Joint Interagency Space Operations Center, which brings together military space troops and intelligence agency experts to plan for war in orbit. It’s later renamed the National Space Defense Center.

April 4, 2017 – Alabama Republican U.S. Rep. Mike Rogers unveils his push for a separate space service during a breakfast gathering at the Space Symposium in Colorado Springs. The effort doesn’t make it through the Senate.

June 8, 2018 – Space Command loses its cyber role.

June 18, 2018 – In televised remarks, President Donald Trump orders the Pentagon to create a “space force” sparking furor and debate.

Tom Roeder, The Gazette

Tom Roeder, The Gazette


Tony Peck, The Gazette