OFFUTT AIR FORCE BASE, Neb. - The Joint Functional Component Command Space (JFCC Space) at Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif., a component of United States Strategic Command, collaborated with Air Force Space Command personnel to provide Space Surveillance Network (SSN) support while tracking a Sample Return Capsule (SRC) from the Japanese Hayabusa spacecraft during its successful re-entry in the Australian Woomera Prohibited Area June 13.
"The event created dynamic tactics, techniques and procedures, and lessons learned to use for future operations," said Capt Casey Beard, Chief of SSA Operations at JFCC Space's Joint Space Operations Center. Additionally, Capt Beard noted that this event helped further international Space Situational Awareness (SSA) Sharing and showed that cooperation in the space domain ensured the spacecraft reentered without incident. Cooperation here included direct liaison between the Woomera Test Range, the Australian Liaison Officer in USSTRATCOM, NASA, JFCC Space and the Office of Secretary of Defense (OSD).
USSTRATCOM is one of ten U.S. unified commands under the Department of Defense (DOD). The command, including components, employs more than 2,700 people representing all four services including DOD civilians and contractors who oversee the command's operationally focused global strategic mission.