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MOSS Morón Optical Space Surveillance System

The 21st Space Wing closed its Morón Optical Space Surveillance System, known as Detachment 4, 21st Operations Group, in Morón, Spain, 31 March 2013. MOSS began operating in 1998 to fill a coverage gap over the Mediterranean Sea. The GEODSS network called for an additional site in the Mediterranean to provide contiguous geosynchronous coverage. Air Force Space Command (AFSPC) is fielding MOSS to provide this critical geosynchronous belt metric and Space Object Identification (SOI) coverage.

MOSS was an Electro-Optical (E-O) surveillance system lLocated on Moron Air Base, Spain. The operational E-O prototype was intended to be a gap filler operating in concert with GEODSS. Operations are performed in 20’ X 8’ van. The telescope has a nominal aperture of 22 inches and a focal length of 51 inches. It houses a 1024 X 1024 Massachusetts Institute of Technology/Lincoln Laboratory (MIT/LL) Charge Couple Device (CCD) focal plane array.

Situated south of Seville and north of Naval Station Rota in the province of Andalucía, MOSS was a large telescope used to detect, track and identify manmade deep-space objects in support of the U.S. Strategic Command space control mission. The unit reported new foreign and domestic launches to the Joint Space Operations Center and to the National Air and Space Intelligence Center.

MOSS was intended to be a short-term solution, but it had been in operation for 14 years and was becoming increasingly difficult to sustain. "With new space surveillance systems online to address the coverage area and the increasing cost and difficulty to sustain MOSS, the decision was made to divest the system and reallocate the associated manpower and funding where it could be better used. The 11 space operations and maintenance Airmen assigned to Detachment 4 were reassigned to other Air Force units.

The 21st Operations Group still maintained three ground-based optical surveillance sensors located in Socorro, N.M., Diego Garcia in the British Indian Ocean Territories, and Maui, Hawaii, which continue to provide foundational space surveillance data in support of our nation's defense.




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