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4th Space Operations Squadron Improves Space Warfighting Capabilities

Schriever AFB News Feature

by A1C Jonathan Whitely, 50th Space Wing Public Affairs

2019 September 16

SCHRIEVER AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. -- The 4th Space Operations Squadron completed the first successful on-orbit testing of the Wideband Global SATCOM-10 satellite at Schriever Air Force Base, Colorado, Aug. 26-28.

First Lt. Brady Weaver, 4th SOPS weapons and tactics operator, said the capabilities of the WGS-10 satellite are used across the world.

“WGS primarily affects the Department of Defense as well as allied nations” he said. “Senators, congressmen, the president and other government agencies use it for secure communications and data transfer, as well as military forces.”

First Lt. David Lacourrege, 4th Space Operations Squadron weapons and tactics operator, said WGS-10 is the newest iteration of wideband SATCOM satellites.

“The satellite has an extremely high data throughput,” he said. “It can support [unmanned aerial vehicle] feeds, allows for multiple modes of commanding, and it has a digital channelizer on board that provides seamless translation between frequencies. This allows for jam-resistant communication for tactical users and allows operators to more easily command the satellite in a quick time frame”

Lacourrege said WGS provides satellite communications in X and Ka frequency bands.

“The X and Ka bands fall on the electromagnetic spectrum and are very specific frequency ranges designed for satellite communications,” he said. “User terminals operate in that band of the spectrum and it allows for greater data throughput.”

Lacourrege said the 4th SOPS tested three tactics which are skip burn, manual maneuver and surface area decrease.

“The testing of these three tactics allowed better response, initiated greater effects for customers, maintained mission capabilities and the survivability of our assets,” he said. “Our tactics allow us to maintain our mission here despite a contested space environment.”

Lacourrege said despite it being the first live on-orbit testing of three tactics by the squadron, the 4th SOPS was prepared for the testing.

“Before the testing, our Boeing technical advisors performed simulations of the activities we would be doing to ensure they would be safe,” he said.

The 4th SOPS wasn’t the only unit involved in the testing.

“The 4 SOPS coordinated tactics, techniques and procedures tests with other units across the Department of Defense,” he said. “However, 4 SOPS is the primary unit that performed the on-orbit tests.”

Weaver said the testing resulted in the best possible outcome.

“This test gave us confirmation we can effectively utilize tactics, techniques and procedures given a sort response time.”

Weaver said the 4th SOPS stays mission ready around the clock.

“Even though 4 SOPS is a MILSATCOM unit that is sometimes seen as a service provider, this test shows we are capable of performing in a contested, degraded and operationally limited environment, and we’re continuing to improve our warfighting capabilities every day,” he said.

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