United States Air Force Academy

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Supporting our

Space Mission

Satellite above earth

At the U.S. Air Force Academy we know that space is the ultimate high ground. Space capabilities fuel our way of life and our way of war. Here we are learning space by doing space, in an undergraduate space program unlike any other in the world. We are able to design, build, test and fly operational satellites.

No matter the major, space is woven throughout our academic program – recognizing that space power is essential to any future conflict, and that after graduation we will be the ones leading the way into the uncertain environments of tomorrow.

 

The Academy has developed programs to motivate, inform, influence and inspire cadets’ interest in a career related to space. Our Academy-Space Force team has established summer programs, including the Azimuth Guardianship Program and Ops Space Force, to encourage cadets to apply for selection into the Space Force.

Other cadet space organizations that enhance the academic experience and esprit de corps of cadets interested in space include the i5 squadron where cadets are educated on all facets of the space domain. i5 has expanded its reach to 27 Air Force ROTC detachments to spread space education and awareness to all future Airmen and Guardians. Likewise, the cadet rocketry club, Blue Horizons, continues to attract space-minded cadets to the world of rockets.

Thinking of a career in the space domain? You’ve come to the right place.

Quick Facts

94cadets commissioned into the Space Force in 2022

29dedicated Space courses taught across the Academy

300+cadets engaged in space squadrons and clubs

9satellites launched with two actively maintained and operated by cadets

SUPPORTING the SPACE FORCE

The Academy is the premier commissioning path for officers wishing to serve in the U.S. Space Force, which was established on Dec. 20, 2019. Immediately after its conception, the Academy started a constellation of Guardians with the commissioning of 88 officers into the Space Force in 2020, and continues to build that new legacy. Indeed, 115 cadets were commissioned into the Space Force in 2021 and 94 in 2022.

The Academy boasts seven research centers that provide hands-on space application activities. There are over 180 cadets currently majoring in space-related fields and over 60 minoring in Space Warfighting. Plus, all cadets take a space fundamentals as part of their core classes. We have the facilities and expertise to produce Guardians of tomorrow.

Space-focused courses

The Academy offers two space majors, a space warfighting minor, and 29 space course offerings spanning all academic departments. Graduates of space-focused courses will have the tools and experience needed to succeed as future officers in the space domain. Explore more:

Space Infographic

FalconSat

“Learning space by doing space” is the motto of the Academy’s unique FalconSat senior capstone engineering program, a program unlike any other undergraduate space program in the world. Each year Astronautics Department faculty, aided by experts from other departments, NCOs, technicians and contractors, provide Astro majors with the real hands-on experience of designing, building, testing, and launching satellites.

FalconSat’s roots trace back to the early 1980s when the first cadet experiments were designed for space shuttle missions. These later morphed into balloon-launched testbeds and small payloads followed by free-flying satellites launched in the early 2000s. Since the mid-2000s, the Air Force Research Lab has sponsored the FalconSAT program, providing funding and payloads to give cadets this unique opportunity. Each FalconSat has included payloads intended to provide flight heritage and experimental data.

Experiences with FalconSat is not limited to seniors or Astro majors. Cadets belonging to the Cadet Space Operations Squadron get to operate satellites and control the entire FalconSat Constellation.

 

 

Space research facilities 
Astronomical Research Group and Observatory

The Astronomical Research Group and Observatory (ARGO), based at the United States Air Force Academy Observatory, houses the 41-cm telescope, and supports the worldwide Falcon Telescope Network. We now have the funding for a state-of-the-art 1-meter telescope to replace our existing, 54-year-old 61-cm telescope, and we are pursuing the acquisition of this new telescope.

Learn more about ARGO


Center for Space Situational Awareness Research

The Center for Space Situational Awareness Research (CSSAR) provides cadets and faculty at the United States Air Force Academy an education and research program in space situational awareness using world-class facilities and capabilities.

Learn more about CSSAR


Space Physics and Atmospheric Research Center

The Space Physics and Atmospheric Research Center (SPARC) faculty and cadets perform research in the solar-terrestrial environment and investigate how perturbations in that environment can negatively impact the performance and longevity of our space assets. SPARC specializes in the development of aggressively miniaturized payloads that fly on experimental spacecraft to make observations of the ionosphere.

Learn more about SPARC


Space Systems Research Center

The Space Systems Research Center (SSRC) designs, builds, tests, and flies cadet-built, DOD-backed satellites. It focuses on cadet education while achieving real DOD objectives and supports national Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics educational objectives.

Learn more about SSRC