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The 460th Operations Support Squadron (460 OSS) is responsible for the operational training and certification of all space professional assigned to Space Delta 4 (DEL 4), located at Buckley Space Force Base, Colorado. 460 OSS is also responsible for tactics development, engineering support, development-to-operational integration, Overhead Persistent Infrared Battlespace Awareness Center (OBAC) development, maintenance operations, crew force management and student accessions.


The mission of the 460 OSS is to provide Combat-Ready Airmen delivering unrivaled operational support to enable flawless missile warning for America and our Allies.


The 460 OSS trains the next generation of Defense Support Program (DSP) and Space-Based Infrared System (SBIRS) operators using the Standardized Space Trainer (SST).

The SST is a state-of-the-art training suite designed to emulate the operations floor environment and increase the speed and efficiency with which new space operators learn their mission. It allows operators to learn their missile warning mission with scenarios that emulate real-world situations to enhance learning and facilitate flawless operations. The SST combines simulated information from multiple space assets from geographically separated locations.

The DSP satellites are a key part of North America's early warning systems. In their 22,300-mile, geosynchronous orbits, DSP satellites protect the United States and its allies by detecting missile launches, space launches and nuclear detonations. DSP satellites use an infrared sensor to detect heat from missile and booster plumes against the Earth's background. In 1995, technological advancements were made to ground processing systems enhancing detection capability of smaller missiles to provide improved warning of attack by short-range missiles against U.S. and allied forces overseas.

The SBIRS program is the follow-on capability to the DSP and was designed to provide a seamless operational transition from DSP to SBIRS and meet jointly-defined requirements of the defense and intelligence communities in support of the missile early warning, missile defense, battlespace awareness and technical intelligence mission areas. The program consists of the space segment of Geosynchronous Earth Orbit (GEO) satellites, Highly Elliptical Orbit (HEO) sensors riding on host satellites, legacy DSP satellites and the associated world-wide deployed ground systems. The SBIRS Mission Control Station, located at Buckley Air Force Base, manages the constellation of HEO sensors, GEO satellites and the legacy DSP satellites. The SBIRS ground system consolidates the legacy DSP, HEO and GEO ground systems from three locations into one primary and one backup ground station.

SBIRS sensors are designed to provide greater flexibility and sensitivity than the DSP infrared sensor and detect short-wave and mid-wave infrared signals, allowing SBIRS to perform a broader set of missions. These enhanced capabilities result in improved prediction accuracy for global, strategic, and tactical warfighters.

The spacecraft bus consists of a militarized, radiation-hardened spacecraft, providing power, attitude control, command and control and a communications subsystem with five separate mission data downlinks to meet mission requirements, including system survivability and endurability requirements. The infrared payload consists of two sensors: a scanner and a step-starer. The scanning sensor continuously scans the earth to provide 24/7 global strategic missile warning capability. Data from the scanner also contributes to theater and intelligence missions. The step-staring sensor, with its highly agile and highly accurate pointing and control system, provides coverage for theater missions and intelligence areas of interest with its fast revisit rates and high sensitivity.


The 460 OSS was activated on 19 August 2004 and at one point only managed the operational training and certification of operators. Today the 460 OSS manages 8 different functional areas across Space Delta 4 including Crew Force Management, Operations Training, Student Administration, Weapons and Tactics, Overhead Persistent Infrared Battlespace Awareness Center (OBAC) development, SBIRS Engineering, Plans and Programs, and Maintenance Operations.

On Dec. 20, 2019, United States Space Force was officially established, and 460 OSS became a part of the newest branch of the United States Department of Defense. On July 24, 2020, the 460 OSS was transferred to Space Delta 4, Buckley AFB.