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Peterson facility boosts space mission readiness

  • Published
  • By Jennifer Schneider
  • AFCEC Public Affairs
Members of the 16th Space Control Squadron and its Reserve associate unit, the 380th SPCS, are now enjoying enhanced capabilities, as engineers at the Air Force Civil Engineer Center wrapped up construction on a state-of-the-art, $15.2 million facility at Peterson AFB, Colo., this summer.

"This is truly a one-of-a-kind facility," said Bob Barrish, onsite AFCEC project manager at Peterson. "We couldn't take an off-the-shelf design and site-adapt it in this case. Luckily, the SPCS was very engaged throughout the design and construction of the facility, which made it easier for us to give them a building that was tailored to their mission."

The 16th SPCS is Air Force Space Command's first defensive counterspace unit and employs the Rapid Attack, Identification, Detection and Reporting System. The facility at Peterson, along with various suites of transportable antennas deployed around the world, support combatant commanders by detecting, characterizing, geolocating and reporting the sources of radio frequency interference on U.S. military and commercial satellites.

The SPCS required a facility that was as unique as its mission.

The facility brings the active and reserve units under the same roof and consists of several mixed-use areas that include open office areas, an exercise facility, a maintenance garage and a sensitive compartmentalized information facility, or SCIF. The building's foundation and structural steel system was engineered and built to Department of Defense's guidelines to resist progressive collapse due to possible natural or manmade events.

"The facility is a great improvement from our previous location and has allowed us to perform our mission without fail," said Lt. Col. Mark Guerber, 16th SPCS commander. "For the 380th, this new building finally provides the right kind of training spaces to host a full reserve weekend in the same facility. On the active-duty side, we've begun planning how we could assume training for one of our deployed missions here on the space control campus. Planning is in the very early stages, but the capacity of the training rooms, the antenna pad and the maintenance bay offers us options we never had before."

In addition to its own security requirements, the building site was situated next to a facility with an active classified mission, requiring coordination with its inhabitants as well.

"Team interaction and cooperation were crucial throughout the design and construction process," Barrish said. "The contractor was great and went to great lengths to coordinate access to the existing infrastructure and allow the classified mission next door to keep operating."

Besides its security features, the project also incorporates environmentally friendly elements such as highly efficient insulation, and is a candidate for a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, or LEED, silver rating.