In a ceremony steeped in both history and the promise of the future, the US Space Force activated the 5th Space Operations Squadron (5th SOPS) on June 3rd, 2024.

The activation signifies a changing of the guard, as Delta 9’s Detachment 1 relinquishes its role overseeing the X-37B Orbital Test Vehicle (OTV) to this newly formed squadron.

The X-37B program itself is a cornerstone of US space exploration, pushing the boundaries of reusable spacecraft technology. This unmanned space vehicle serves as a platform for experimenting with advanced technologies critical for national security.

Lt. Col. Latasha Spear takes the helm of the 5th SOPS, following a distinguished career and the exemplary leadership of Maj. Eric Wilson, who received the Meritorious Service Medal during the ceremony.

“[The] Fifth SOPS is under great hands with Lt. Col. Spear,” said Maj. Wilson. “I have no doubt she will ensure [the Squadron] is able to continue the great lineage of excellence [established by Detachment 1 Guardians].”

The 5th SOPS boasts a long and storied tradition dating back to the early 1960s.

Originally known as the Air Force Satellite Control Facility, this unit played a critical role in solidifying the US Air Force‘s position as a major player in space operations by establishing its expertise in satellite control. It was then provisionally activated on October 1st, 1992, as Operating Location-A under the 750th Space Group.

US Air Force’s X-37B Orbital Test Vehicle Mission 5. (Image source: DVIDS)

Securing a Free and Open Indo-Pacific: The 5th SOPS Mission

The activation ceremony underscored the significance of the 5th SOPS mission for the Space Force’s Indo-Pacific Command.