45th Space Wing

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45th Space Wing
45th SW Launches Delta IV-Heavy.jpg
The 45th Space Wing successfully launched a Delta IV-Heavy rocket carrying the NROL-32 classified payload for the National Reconnaissance Office 21 November 2010 from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station.
Active 1949-Present
Country  United States
Branch  United States Air Force
Type Satellite Launch
Part of Air Force Space Command
Garrison/HQ Patrick Air Force Base
Motto(s) Control of the battlefield begins here
Mascot(s) Sharks
  • Air Force Outstanding Unit Award Streamer.jpg
    Air Force Outstanding Unit Award (12x)
  • AFOEA Streamer.jpg
    Air Force Organizational Excellence Award (3x)
  • Meritorious Unit Commendation (Navy-Marine) Streamer.jpg
    Navy Meritorious Unit Commendation
Brig Gen Wayne R. Monteith[1]
Donald G. Cook
Lt.Gen. Susan Helms
Robert C. Hinson
Emblem of the 45th Space Wing 45th Space Wing.png

The 45th Space Wing (45 SW) is a United States Air Force unit. It is assigned to the Fourteenth Air Force, stationed at Patrick Air Force Base, Florida. It commands Patrick AFB and the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. The mission of the 45th Space Wing (45 SW) is to assure access to space and to support global operations.

The wing currently operates a number of rockets and missiles, including the Delta IV and Atlas V, and provides support for the Department of Defense, NASA, and commercial manned and unmanned space programs. The wing formerly operated the Titan IV rocket. It employs 9,512 military and civilians.[2] Since August 4, 2015, it is under the command of Brigadier General Wayne R. Monteith.[1]

The wing commander formerly served as the deputy DOD manager for the Department of Defense Manned Space Flight Support Office.


Major units assigned to the 45 SW are:

The 45th Launch Group participates in receipt, inspection, processing, test, and launch of all flight hardware to ensure the successful launch of satellites to support national and Combatant Commander requirements
5th Space Launch Squadron
Located at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida, the 45th Operations Group operates the Eastern Range and launches space vehicles for Department of Defense (DoD), NASA, the United States, and international commercial customers.
  • 45th Medical Group
  • 45th Mission Support Group


See also: 45th Operations Group; 45th Launch Group; 6555th Aerospace Test Group for additional lineage and history.

Organized to maintain and operate the proving ground facilities in coordination and collaboration with other agencies of the national guided missile program. Provided static and flight testing to meet requirements of Army, Navy, and Air Force research and development programs, including operational experimentation and training.

From May 1950 to May 1951, had separate operating agency status, assigned directly to Headquarters, United States Air Force. Maintained and operated the Eastern Test Range and affiliated facilities in support of Department of Defense (DOD), National Air and Space Administration (NASA), US Air Force, and other test and evaluation agencies, 1951–1977 and after 1979.

Operated "Down-Range" facilities at Antigua, Ascension Island, and Cape Canaveral AFS, Florida, 1951–1977 and after 1979.

After Oct 1979, launched DOD payloads into orbit and collected flight data for evaluation of ballistic missile systems launched from Eastern Launch sites for DOD, NASA, and commercial customers. Gave support for DOD manned/unmanned, NASA manned/unmanned, and commercial unmanned space programs while providing "host wing" responsibilities at Patrick AFB.

45th Space Wing accomplishments are:[3]

  • Completing the Initial NAVSTAR II Constellation
  • U.S. Military Technology Missions
  • Foreign Military Missions
  • Civilian/Commercial Space Launches
Missions have included:
    • X-Ray, Gamma Ray, Infrared, Microwave Anisotropy, and Extreme Ultraviolet Astronomy Missions
    • Solar Wind Missions
    • Asteroid Probes and Comet Encounters
    • Missions to Mars and Mercury
    • Kepler Spacecraft ‘Planetary Search’ Mission
    • PALAPA B2R and PALAPA B4
    • Britain’s BSB-R2 and Telenor’s THOR II and THOR III
    • ASC-2, AURORA II and SATCOM 4
    • INMARSAT-2 F-1 and INMARSAT-2 F-2
    • BONUM-1
  • DELTA III, Delta IV, Titan IV and Atlas V Missions
  • NASA Space Shuttle launches
  • Atlas V Carrying X-37B Orbital Test Vehicle
  • NASA'S Geostationary Environmental Satellite (GOES-P)
  • Atlas V launch of Solar Global Observatory
  • Delta IV launch of Wideband Global SATCOM (WGS) high-capacity communications satellites
  • Intelsat-14 commercial communications satellite
  • NASA Ares 1-X launch
  • USAF Delta II final launch in 2009, inactivation of 1st Space Launch Squadron (45th LCG)


  • Established as Air Force Division, Joint Long Range Proving Ground and organized on 1 Oct 1949
Re-designated: Long Range Proving Ground Division on 16 May 1950
Re-designated: Air Force Missile Test Center on 30 Jun 1951
Re-designated: Air Force Eastern Test Range (AFETR) on 15 May 1964
Inactivated on 1 Feb 1977
  • Re-designated Eastern Space and Missile Center (ESMC) and activated on 1 Oct 1979
Re-designated: 45th Space Wing (45 SW) on 12 Nov 1991




  • 4800th Guided Missile Wing (later, 6555th Guided Missile Wing; 6555th Guided Missile Group): 30 Dec 1950-7 Sep 1954
  • 6541st Missile Test (later, 6541 Operations Group [Range]): 4 Sep 1951-7 Sep 1954


  • 45th Launch Group: 1 Dec 2003–present
    • previously designated as 45th Logistics Group, 12 Nov 1991-30 Nov 2003
  • 45th Operations Group: 12 Nov 1991–present
  • 45th Medical Group: 12 Nov 1991–present
  • 45th Mission Support Group: 12 Nov 1991–present
  • 6550th Test Group (Missile): 1 Jul-1 Oct 1955
  • 6555th Guided Missiles Group (Test and Evaluation) (later, 6555th Aerospace Test): 15 Aug-21 Dec 1959; 1 Oct 1979-1 Oct 1990


  • 1st Space Launch Squadron: 1 Oct 1990–Aug 2009
  • 3rd Space Launch Squadron: 1 Oct 1990-Jun 2005
  • 5th Space Launch Squadron: 14 Mar 1994-29 Jun 1998, 1 Dec 2003-present
    • duties absorbed by 3 SLS on 29 Jun 1998
  • 45th Launch Support Squadron: 30 Jun 2005–present
  • 45th Operations Support Squadron: 12 Nov 1991–present
  • 1st Range Operations Squadron: 1 Dec 2003–present
    • previously 45th Range Operations Squadron, then 45th Range Squadron, 12 Nov 1991-1 Dec 2003
  • 45th Security Forces Squadron: 12 Nov 1991–present
  • 1st Pilotless Bomber: 1 Oct 1951-1 Feb 1952 (detached)
  • 6550th Operations Squadron: 7 Sep 1954-1 Jul 1955; 1 Oct 1955-1 Feb 1960
  • 6555th Guided Missile (later, 6555th Guided Missiles Squadron): 7 Sep 1954-1 Jul 1955; 1 Oct 1955-15 Aug 1959


  • Patrick AFB, FL, 1 Oct 1949-1 Feb 1977; 1 Oct 1979-Present

See also[edit]


 This article incorporates public domain material from the Air Force Historical Research Agency website http://www.afhra.af.mil/.

  1. ^ a b 45th Space Wing Archived 2015-10-05 at the Wayback Machine.
  2. ^ King, Ledyard (January 27, 2012). "High-tech focus may favor Brevard". Florida Today. Melbourne, Florida. pp. 2A. 
  3. ^ [Delta II and III Space Operations at Cape Canaveral, 1989 – 2009. by Mark C. Cleary 45th SPACE WING History Office]

External links[edit]