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3rd Test and Evaluation Squadron

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

3rd Test and Evaluation Squadron
Squadron emblem
Active1990 – 2002
2006 – present
Country United States
Branch United States Space Force
TypeSpace operations
RoleTechnology experimentation, demonstration, and test
Part ofSpace Delta 12
Home baseSchriever Space Force Base, Colorado
Motto(s)"Unequalled excellence"
Mascot(s)Komainu (Japanese for 'guardian lion-dog')
DecorationsAir Force Outstanding Unit Award
WebsiteOfficial website
Lt Col David Heinz

The 3rd Test and Evaluation Squadron (3 TES) (formerly 3rd Space Experimentation Squadron (3 SES)) is a space test and evaluation unit located at Schriever Space Force Base in Colorado.

As part of the United States Air Force, the squadron was described, in 2008, as "AFSPC's premier organization for space-based demonstrations, pathfinders and experiments. The unit identifies concepts of employment, training, education and technical skill sets required to field selected future AFSPC missions. The 3d SES will develop a core cadre of space professionals to serve as subject matter experts for all future AFSPC space-based endeavors, demonstrate operational utility of selected demonstrations and apply lessons learned from demonstrations and pathfinders for use in future initiatives."[1]

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The 3d SES was first constituted as the 3d Surveillance Squadron on August 10, 1990, at Misawa AB, Japan. However it was not activated at that time. In preparation for its activation and operations, Det. 3, 73d Space Group activated in January 1991 to oversee construction and site preparation for the 3d. The home for the 3d SS (project name RINGO) was completed on March 16, 1991. Two antennas, an operations building, support building, pump housing and entry control point were constructed beginning on October 1, 1991, and was completed on May 31, 1992. Later that year, the unit was redesignated 3d Space Surveillance Squadron and it activated on October 1. The unit's Deep Space Tracking System obtained initial operating capability in April 1994. The squadron inactivated on February 20, 2002.

Assigned to the 73d Space Group, the 3d was tasked with operating passive sensors for the Deep Space Tracking System. The squadron was one of two Deep Space Tracking System squadrons located throughout the world. The DSTS tracked objects orbiting more than 22,300 miles above the Earth. More than 9,500 man-made objects orbit the Earth, ranging in size from a baseball to the Mir space station. The 3d SPSS forwarded this data to the 1st Command and Control Squadron and the Space Control Center, Cheyenne Mountain Air Station, CO. The 1st CACS and the center use this information, along with other data, to catalog and identify all man-made Earth-orbiting objects. Several agencies use this information for everything from collision avoidance to intelligence.

On February 23, 2006, Air Force Space Command ordered the unit redesignated 3d Space Experimentation Squadron and activated it effective March 10, 2006, with its new home at Schriever AFB, Colorado.

On August 23, 2021, the United States Space Force, Space Training and Readiness Command (STARCOM), ordered the unit redesignated 3d Test and Evaluation Squadron and activated it effective August 27, 2021.


  • Constituted as 3d Surveillance Squadron on 10 Aug 1990
Re-designated: 3d Space Surveillance Squadron on 1 October 1992
Activated on 1 October 1992
Inactivated on 20 February 2002
Re-designated: 3d Space Experimentation Squadron on 16 February 2006
Activated on 10 March 2006
Re-designated: 3d Test and Evaluation Squadron on 27 Aug 2021


  • 73d Space Group, 1 October 1992 – 25 April 1995
  • 21st Operations Group 26 April 1995 – 20 February 2002
  • 595th Space Group, 10 March 2006 – 30 March 2013
  • 50th Operations Group, 1 April 2013 – 18 June 2020
  • 750th Operations Group, 19 June 2020 – 23 July 2020
  • STAR Delta-P, 24 July 2020 – 26 August 2021
  • Space Delta 12, 27 August 2021 – Present



Space Systems

  • Deep Space Tracking System (1992–2002)


List of commanders

  • Lt Col Robert Preston (Misawa - 1st Commander)
  • Lt Col Richard Lucas (Misawa)
  • Lt Col Jim Maestas
  • Lt Col Jeff Hokett, 1 June 2007[8]
  • Lt Col Joseph Prue, 26 May 2009[9]
  • Lt Col Sam Johnson, 13 June 2011[10]
  • Lt Col Matthew S. Cantore, 14 June 2013[11]
  • Lt Col Zachary S. Owen, 13 February 2015[12]
  • Lt Col Kevin Amsden, 6 April 2017[13]
  • Lt Col William Burich, 31 May 2019[14]
  • Lt Col Anna Gunn-Golkin, 14 June 2021[15]
  • Lt Col David Heinz, 22 June 2023


Public Domain This article incorporates public domain material from the Air Force Historical Research Agency

  1. ^ Air Force Space Command: Space Innovation and Development Center Factsheet Archived 2008-06-06 at the Wayback Machine
  2. ^ AFSPC Special Order GA-10, 2001
  3. ^ USAF FOIA Request-2009-01074
  4. ^ AFSPC Special Order GA-97, 2000
  5. ^ AFSPC Special Order GA-62, 6 Dec 1999
  6. ^ AFSPC Special Order GA-58, 6 Dec 1999
  7. ^ AFSPC Special Order GA-09, 1 Nov 1997
  8. ^ "3rd SES welcomes new commander".
  9. ^ "3rd SES hails, bids farewell to leadership". 28 May 2009.
  10. ^ "3 SES changes command".
  11. ^ "3 SES changes leadership".
  12. ^ "3 SES welcomes new commander".
  13. ^ "3 SES changes command".
  14. ^ "3rd Space Experimentation Squadron changes command".
  15. ^ "Space Training and Readiness Command on Facebook". Facebook. Archived from the original on 2022-04-26.[user-generated source]
This page was last edited on 28 March 2024, at 05:36
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