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18 SDS, France’s COSMOS integrate SDA knowledge during ‘Operator Exchange’

Members from the 18 Space Defense Squadron (18 SDS), France’s Operational Center for Military Surveillance of Space Objects (COSMOS), and the 2nd Space Launch Squadron conduct a tour of Space Launch Complex-6, including its flame trench, during an Operator Exchange event, hosted by the 18 SDS, at Vandenberg Space Force Base, Calif. Oct. 6, 2022. The 4-day event aimed to advance global space domain awareness between the two groups by exchanging common practices, spotlighting mission capabilities, and explaining methodologies of their respective programs. (U.S. Space Force phot by Tech. Sgt. Luke Kitterman)

Members from the 18 Space Defense Squadron (18 SDS), France’s Operational Center for Military Surveillance of Space Objects (COSMOS), and the 2nd Space Launch Squadron conduct a tour of Space Launch Complex-6, including its flame trench, during an Operator Exchange event, hosted by the 18 SDS, at Vandenberg Space Force Base, Calif. Oct. 6, 2022. The 4-day event aimed to advance global space domain awareness between the two groups by exchanging common practices, spotlighting mission capabilities, and explaining methodologies of their respective programs. (U.S. Space Force phot by Tech. Sgt. Luke Kitterman)

Members from the 18 Space Defense Squadron (18 SDS), France’s Operational Center for Military Surveillance of Space Objects (COSMOS), and the 2nd Space Launch Squadron conduct a tour of Space Launch Complex-6 during an Operator Exchange event, hosted by the 18 SDS, at Vandenberg Space Force Base, Calif. Oct. 6, 2022. The 4-day event aimed to advance global space domain awareness between the two groups by exchanging common practices, spotlighting mission capabilities, and explaining methodologies of their respective programs. (U.S. Space Force phot by Tech. Sgt. Luke Kitterman)

Members from the 18 Space Defense Squadron (18 SDS), France’s Operational Center for Military Surveillance of Space Objects (COSMOS), and the 2nd Space Launch Squadron conduct a tour of Space Launch Complex-6 during an Operator Exchange event, hosted by the 18 SDS, at Vandenberg Space Force Base, Calif. Oct. 6, 2022. The 4-day event aimed to advance global space domain awareness between the two groups by exchanging common practices, spotlighting mission capabilities, and explaining methodologies of their respective programs. (U.S. Space Force phot by Tech. Sgt. Luke Kitterman)

A French space operator from the Operational Center for Military Surveillance of Space Objects (COSMOS) instructs about the COSMOS organization structure and mission set during an Operator Exchange event hosted by the 18th Space Defense Squadron (18 SDS) at Vandenberg Space Force Base, Calif., Oct. 5, 2022. The 4-day event aimed to advance global space domain awareness between the two groups by exchanging common practices, spotlighting mission capabilities, and explaining methodologies of their respective programs. (U.S. Space Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Luke Kitterman)

A French space operator from the Operational Center for Military Surveillance of Space Objects (COSMOS) instructs about the COSMOS organization structure and mission set during an Operator Exchange event hosted by the 18th Space Defense Squadron (18 SDS) at Vandenberg Space Force Base, Calif., Oct. 5, 2022. The 4-day event aimed to advance global space domain awareness between the two groups by exchanging common practices, spotlighting mission capabilities, and explaining methodologies of their respective programs. (U.S. Space Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Luke Kitterman)

Diana McKissock, Space Situational Awareness Partnership and Coalition Engagement (SPACE) office lead and member of the 18th Space Defense Squadron (18 SDS), left, instructs French space operators from the Operational Center for Military Surveillance of Space Objects (COSMOS) during an Operator Exchange at Vandenberg Space Force Base, Calif., Oct. 5, 2022. The 18 SDS executes U.S. Space Command’s Space Domain Awareness (SDA) mission, including command and control of the U.S. Space Surveillance Network, and is also responsible for the SSA Sharing program, which provides data of resident space objects to commercial, international and academic partners. (U.S. Space Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Luke Kitterman)

Diana McKissock, Space Situational Awareness Partnership and Coalition Engagement (SPACE) office lead and member of the 18th Space Defense Squadron (18 SDS), left, instructs French space operators from the Operational Center for Military Surveillance of Space Objects (COSMOS) during an Operator Exchange at Vandenberg Space Force Base, Calif., Oct. 5, 2022. The 18 SDS executes U.S. Space Command’s Space Domain Awareness (SDA) mission, including command and control of the U.S. Space Surveillance Network, and is also responsible for the SSA Sharing program, which provides data of resident space objects to commercial, international and academic partners. (U.S. Space Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Luke Kitterman)

U.S. Space Force Sgt. Brianna Vincent, 18th Space Defense Squadron (18 SDS) Space Situational Awareness (SSA) coordinator and lead planner for the COSMOS exchange, speaks with French space operators from the Operational Center for Military Surveillance of Space Objects (COSMOS) during an Operator Exchange event at Vandenberg Space Force Base, Calif., Oct. 4, 2022. The 4-day event aimed to advance global space domain awareness between the two groups by exchanging common practices, spotlighting mission capabilities, and explaining methodologies of their respective programs. (U.S. Space Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Luke Kitterman)

U.S. Space Force Sgt. Brianna Vincent, 18th Space Defense Squadron (18 SDS) Space Situational Awareness (SSA) coordinator and lead planner for the COSMOS exchange, speaks with French space operators from the Operational Center for Military Surveillance of Space Objects (COSMOS) during an Operator Exchange event at Vandenberg Space Force Base, Calif., Oct. 4, 2022. The 4-day event aimed to advance global space domain awareness between the two groups by exchanging common practices, spotlighting mission capabilities, and explaining methodologies of their respective programs. (U.S. Space Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Luke Kitterman)

Members from the 18 Space Defense Squadron (18 SDS), France’s Operational Center for Military Surveillance of Space Objects (COSMOS), and the 2nd Space Launch Squadron conduct a tour of Space Launch Complex-6 during an Operator Exchange event, hosted by the 18 SDS, at Vandenberg Space Force Base, Calif. Oct. 6, 2022. The 4-day exchange aimed to advance global space domain awareness between the two groups by exchanging common practices, spotlighting mission capabilities, and explaining methodologies of their respective programs.  (U.S. Space Force phot by Tech. Sgt. Luke Kitterman)

Members from the 18 Space Defense Squadron (18 SDS), France’s Operational Center for Military Surveillance of Space Objects (COSMOS), and the 2nd Space Launch Squadron conduct a tour of Space Launch Complex-6 during an Operator Exchange event, hosted by the 18 SDS, at Vandenberg Space Force Base, Calif. Oct. 6, 2022. The 4-day exchange aimed to advance global space domain awareness between the two groups by exchanging common practices, spotlighting mission capabilities, and explaining methodologies of their respective programs. (U.S. Space Force phot by Tech. Sgt. Luke Kitterman)

U.S. Space Force 2nd Lt. Brady Pudwill, 2nd Space Launch Squadron responsible engineer, provides information to members from the 18 Space Defense Squadron and France’s Operational Center for Military Surveillance of Space Objects (COSMOS) during a tour of Space Launch Complex-6 at Vandenberg Space Force Base, Calif. Oct. 6, 2022. The 4-day event aimed to advance global space domain awareness between the two groups by exchanging common practices, spotlighting mission capabilities, and explaining methodologies of their respective programs. (U.S. Space Force phot by Tech. Sgt. Luke Kitterman)

U.S. Space Force 2nd Lt. Brady Pudwill, 2nd Space Launch Squadron National Security Space Launch (NSSL) responsible engineer, provides information to members from the 18 Space Defense Squadron and France’s Operational Center for Military Surveillance of Space Objects (COSMOS) during a tour of Space Launch Complex-6 at Vandenberg Space Force Base, Calif. Oct. 6, 2022. The 4-day event aimed to advance global space domain awareness between the two groups by exchanging common practices, spotlighting mission capabilities, and explaining methodologies of their respective programs. (U.S. Space Force phot by Tech. Sgt. Luke Kitterman)

VANDENBERG SPACE FORCE BASE, Calif. — The 18th Space Defense Squadron (18 SDS) hosted five French space operators from the Operational Center for Military Surveillance of Space Objects (COSMOS) to integrate Space Domain Awareness (SDA) expertise during an ‘Operator Exchange’ here Oct. 3-6, 2022.

The 4-day event, facilitated by the 18 SDS’s Space Situational Awareness Partnership and Coalition Engagement (SPACE) office, aimed to advance global SDA between the two groups by exchanging common practices, spotlighting mission capabilities, and explaining methodologies of their respective programs.

“The value of the Operator Exchange is that it’s operators learning from other operators,” said Diana McKissock, Director, 18 SDS SPACE office. “Meeting face-to-face gives us the opportunity to build relationships above and beyond what we do by email and telecons, which has lasting and mutual benefit to daily operations.”

COSMOS, located at Lyon-Mont Verdun Air Base near Paris, manages space surveillance and the transmission of state information on national security for France.

Similarly, the 18 SDS executes U.S. Space Command’s SDA mission, including command and control of the U.S. Space Surveillance Network, and is also responsible for the SSA Sharing program, which provides data of resident space objects to commercial, international and academic partners.

“Working with coalition partners assists the U.S. in gaining a better understanding of the space domain,” said U.S. Space Force Sgt. Brianna Vincent, 18 SDS SSA sharing coordinator and lead planner for the COSMOS exchange. “The data collected is used to assist with launch processing, reentry prediction, conjunction assessment, maneuver detection and a variety of other mission sets.”

According to www.space-track.org, 18 SDS’s official website for tracking objects in space, there are approximately 47,500 objects continuously being monitored and accounted for currently, a number that is continually growing at an unprecedented rate.

Knowing this, Vincent added that the ability to share data amongst coalition partners significantly helps strengthen the international relationships between teams and increases SDA as the space warfighting domain continues to expand.

“With the help of operational custody of space objects from the coalition partners, we are able to advance together as a whole and maintain the upper hand against our adversaries,” Vincent said.

The exchange covered mission planning, an overview of systems, crew structure and more. The week concluded with a tour of Space Launch Complex-6.

“The COSMOS team brought a unique perspective and problem-solving methodology to the challenging problems in the space domain,” said 1st Lt. Dustin Pessatore, 18 SDS SSA sharing coordinator. “We constantly take feedback and improve the exchanges to make them as valuable as possible. We look forward to continuing and expanding the program to more partner nations.”