The United States Air Force's 5th Space Operations Squadron (5 SOPS) was a satellite operations unit located at Onizuka AFS, California. The 5th Space Operations Squadron was a component of the 50th Operations Group, 50th Space Wing, before being deactivated in 1995. 5 SOPS was responsible for day-to-day command and control for the DSCS III satellites and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization communications satellite program. The squadron had prime launch responsibility for DSCS III, NATO IV/Skynet IV and the Inertial Upper Stage booster.
5th SOPS rose out of the rich history of the Air Force Satellite Control Facility
The squadron was provisionally activated as Operating Location-A, 750th Space Group
, on October 1
. This satellite control facility established one of the Air Force's major roles in space: satellite operations. AFSCF was later divided into the 2nd Space Test Group and the Consolidated Space Test Center on October 1
when AFSPC took over Onizuka Air Force Base, now Onizuka Air Station. OL-A encompassed the CSTC divisions of VOS, VOE, and VOD. 5th SOPS was officially activated November 22
under the 50th Operations Group and within one year, 21st SOPS absorbed the roles of the 2d Satellite Tracking Group
Operations Division and the 1999th Communications Squadron
Operations Division. After the 1995 Base Realignment and Closure
Committee directed realignment of Onizuka AFS, 21st SOPS
absorbed the roles of the 750th Space Group
and all subordinate units and the 5th Space Operations Squadron.
In a three week span, in late 1993, the squadron flawlessly launched a DSCS III and a NATO IV communication satellite, supported NASA's Hubble telescope repair and activated as the 5th Space Operations Squadron. The squadron has launched the IUS in support of NASA programs including all seven TDRS and three inter-planetary spacecraft: Galileo (Jupiter), Magellan (Venus), and Ulysses (Sun).
- 5th Space Operations Squadron (1993-199?)