Sept. 15 (UPI) -- The 1st Space Operations Squadron at Schriever Air Force Base, Colorado, has activated two satellites as part of their Geosynchronous Space Situational Awareness Program.
The program is a network of satellites designed to track objects in orbit ranging from other satellites to space debris for U.S. Strategic Command. It first became operational in 2015.
"GSSAP 3 and 4 will significantly enhance our ability to characterize objects in geosynchronous orbit," Gen. Jay Raymond, commander of Air Force Space Command, said in a news release Wednesday. "This provides the awareness we need to successfully operate in space."
The system has the advantage of not being affected by weather that could limit ground-based monitoring systems. Its orbital vantage point allows it to it detect, track and classify orbital objects with a much higher degree of accuracy.
The program's primary mission is the detecting potential threats to military communications and reconnaissance satellites. An enemy could theoretically detonate a warhead in orbit that would effectively deny access to space with a debris cloud.
Early detection may enable to the Air Force and Navy to intercept the object using ground-based missiles like the SM-3 missile on Aegis destroyers and cruisers.
The U.S. military has demonstrated its anti-satellite capabilities in the past with the shoot-down of a Department of Defense satellite in 2008.