PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. – Air Force Space Command recently activated the Space Situational Awareness Integration Office in Colorado Springs, Colo.

AFSPC officials called the office the next step in the development of America’s future space situational awareness architecture. Space situational awareness includes the surveillance, reconnaissance, intelligence, weather, command, control, and communications required for operating in space.

Members working for the SSAIO will research and analyze the requirements and capabilities of the U.S. military services and various government agencies and integrate these into a coherent system of systems.

The SSAIO’s aim is to create an overall blueprint for a wide variety of military and government agencies, all of which have differing needs and uses for space assets.

Operating with an initial budget of $3.5 million for 2002, the SSAIO currently has a staff of 18 military and contractor personnel. The office could potentially grow to a staff of 50 by 2004, AFSPC officials said, ultimately comprised of representatives from the Air Force, Army, Navy, national agencies and experts from aerospace industry.

“With various organizations working closely with the SSAIO, we will be able to integrate our nation’s requirements for space situational awareness. This will enable the U.S. government to improve our overall SSA capabilities, to include the systems we buy and how we integrate and operate them,” said Lt. Col. Tom Simpson, SSAIO acting director.

Air Force Space Command will operate and manage the daily operations of the office. SSAIO participants include U.S. Strategic Command, Air Force, Army, Navy, the National Security Agency, National Reconnaissance Office, National Imagery and Mapping Agency, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, NASA and others.