UK makes history and leads SACT Meridian Cell for the first time

By Ms. Bridget Bonnette | Joint Task Force-Space Defense Public Affairs

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — After two weeks of training with the Joint Task Force-Space Defense Commercial Operations Cell (JCO), the UK successfully conducted its first Meridian Sprint Advanced Concept Training (SACT) cell change from High Wycombe, England, August 1-5. 2022.

The SACT Series of Events is a three-year series of live virtual experiments and exercises that provides commercial providers of space data and analytics capabilities to explore the integration of their products into a space operations environment. realistic.

SACTs were created to provide a place for rapid innovation and improvement of current space operations and provide commercial vendors with an accessible entry point, supporting commercial and military space integration efforts. The JCO, operating at the unclassified level, helps accelerate integration to commercial speeds, increasing state-of-the-art spatial domain awareness capabilities.

Throughout the series of events, space operators leverage ideas to innovate current capabilities and simultaneously test development capabilities to decide how they might be integrated with mission needs, ultimately driving innovation in the execution of space enterprises.

These events began in 2019 and involved only a handful of commercial partners with the aim of leveraging commercial technologies to support international space awareness efforts.

The SACT series is used as a technical capability assessment for growing commercial vendors looking to demonstrate their capabilities, such as their ability to track satellites or perform maneuver detections and threat assessments.

The SACT series lasts an entire week and includes two 24-hour operations cycles, during which participants are challenged with an aggressive series of desired learning objectives (DLOs) for space operations using end-to-end operational systems. end. *

According to Sprint Advanced Concept Training (SACT): A Renaissance of Collaborative International Space Operations, DLOs are designed by representative sponsoring agencies, including U.S. Space Command and the Department of Commerce, to understand where true commercial capability lies in space surveillance. operational requirements for space domain awareness and space traffic management. *

“Our JTF-SD SACT series of experiences provide a venue to explore a wide range of space domain awareness technologies and collaborative opportunities in support of our protection and defense mission,” said U.S. Army Maj. Gen. Tom James, commander of JTF-SOUTH DAKOTA.

Teams experience engagement simulations of routine threats and adversaries such as search and recovery (SAR); Discrimination of Closely Spaced Objects (CSO); characterization of satellites; high-speed monitoring; evaluation of the conjunction; and rendezvous and proximity operations (RPO) analysis, while continuously executing real-world events.

Current SACTs involve participants from around the world including more than 70 commercial companies, universities and military organizations, demonstrating the exponential growth of participation in just a few years.

August’s SACT included participation not only from the UK, but many international teams including Australia (AUS) Defense Space, Canadian Defense Research and Development Canada (DRDC), AUS Responsive Space Operations Center (RSOC) , AUS Defense Science and Technology Group (DSTG), Chilean Air Force (FACh) and others.

The JCO usually runs these SACTs from the Americas Cell, which is made up of the United States, Canada, Brazil and Chile combined, here in Colorado Springs. However, UK Space Command, under Fg OffHallchurch, operated the Meridian Cell from RAF High Wycombe, England, enabling the UK to become the first country to independently lead a SACT cell.

This SACT also allowed a transfer of training between the cells of the Pacific, the Meridian and the Americas.

“Our strongest allies just happen to be 8 hours apart in either direction,” said Joe Gerber, aerospace engineer and lead integrator for the JCO. “With our core team of allies working shifts, or the ‘follow the sun’ model, this allows the JCO to operate 24/7, so each cell is only operating during normal business hours.”

In preparation for this milestone, UK Space Command personnel attended training at the JCO during the last two weeks of July. The training involved side-by-side operations between JCO and UK Space Command personnel to demonstrate JCO methods of accomplishing tasks and involved performing different functions such as launch processing, mission management and treatment of ballistic trajectory dissent.

“The training we received from JCO Americas was a very important step in our development,” said Cpl Ryan, space systems operator at the UK Space Operations Centre. “The opportunity to see how a well-established JCO crew conducts day-to-day operations is something we were keen to take back. JCO’s capabilities are extensive and we look forward to playing a critical role, along with our Pacific and US cell partners, in delivering 24/7 operations in the near future.

Now that the SACT is complete, the JCO plans to organize a follow-up training to address the learning outcomes and improve knowledge of space operations.

Because space is no longer a benign environment, other countries are now recognizing the importance of space operations, accelerating their own technologies, and advancing their own space capabilities. By collaborating with the JCO, our international partners can team up with the United States in space operations and advance the protection and defense of their own space systems.

Delivering JCO 24/7 operations is proven by SACTs, with the aim of continuously integrating allies and partners into a continuous 24/7 cycle of operations that spans the globe .

* Please visit to download the full paper, Sprint Advanced Concept Training (SACT): A Renaissance in Collaborative International Space Operations.

UK makes history and leads SACT Meridian Cell for the first time

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