Night time 360° panoramic of the Delta IV rocket blasting off from Cape Canaveral, Florida.

Long Exposure 360 degree VR photo showing a United Launch Alliance Delta IV rocket blasting off from Launch Complex 37 at the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. The image was captured from the famous Cocoa Beach Pier a few miles south of the launch pad.

About the AFSPC-6 Mission

Delta IV AFSPC-6 Mission Art Work

United Launch Alliance (ULA) delivered two Geosynchronous Space Situational Awareness Program (GSSAP) satellites to near-geosynchronous orbit using one of its Delta IV Medium+ (4,2) rockets. The Delta IV rocket blasted off from Space Launch Complex 37 at the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station (CCAFS), Florida.

The twin Geosynchronous Space Situational Awareness Program spacecraft were build by Orbital ATK and will be a space based capability operating in near-geosynchronous orbit regime supporting US Strategic Command space operations, as a dedicated Space Surveillance Network (SSN). These GSSAP satellites will support Joint Functional Component Command for Space (JFCC SPACE) taking to collect space situational awareness data allowing for more accurate tracking and characterization of man-made orbiting objects.

From a near-geosynchronous orbit the GSSAP satellites will have a clear, unobstructed and distinct vantage pont for viewing Resident Space Objects (RSOs) without the interruption of weather or the atmospheric distortion that can limit ground based systems. GSSAP satellites will operate near the geosynchronous belt and will have the capability to perform Rendezvous and Proximity Operations (RPO).

Rendezvous and Proximity Operations allow for the space vehicle to maneuver near a resident space object of interest, enabling characterization for anomaly resolution and enhanced awareness, while maintaining flight safety. Data from GSSAP will uniquely contribute to timely and accurate orbital predictions, enhancing our knowledge of the geosynchronous orbit environment, and further enabling space flight safety to include satellite collision avoidance.

The twin GSSAP spacecraft will communicate information through the world wide Air Force Satellite Network (AFSCN) ground stations, then to Schriever Air Force Base, CO where the 50th Space Wing satellite operators of the 1st Space Operations Squadron (1 SOPS) will oversee daily operations.

These are not the first GSSAP satellites to be launched from the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. On July 28, 2014 ULA launched GSSAP satellites aboard a Delta IV M+ (4,2) which was the AFSPC-4 mission.
Read more about the mission.

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