The U.S. Air Force’s 4th Space Operations Squadron officially gained command of the Enhanced Polar System (EPS) satellite on Sept. 25, at Schriever Air Force Base, Colorado.
EPS adds two satellites to 4th SOPS, increasing the squadron’s arsenal to 25 satellites.
The U.S. Air Force’s EPS system provides secure, jam-resistant extremely high frequency (EHF) satellite communications coverage to forces in the North Polar Region (above 65 degrees north latitude) in support of U.S. national objectives. It is the next-generation SATCOM system that will replace the current Interim Polar System (IPS) and serve as a polar adjunct to the Advanced EHF (AEHF) system.
EPS satellites sit in the Molniya orbit, a more highly inclined orbit than a geosynchronous orbit that enables satellites to provide better coverage for the northern part of the Earth. A satellite in a geosynchronous orbit sits above Earth’s equator and follows the direction of it, meaning the satellite appears to sit above the same place on Earth. Users who are above 65 degrees (latitude) don’t receive good signal strength in case of geo-orbit satellites.
The 4th SOPS commands and controls five satellite programs:
+ Advanced Extremely High Frequency (AEHF)
+ Defense Satellite Communications System Phase III (DSCS-III)
+ Wideband Global Satellite Communications (Wideband Global SATCOM, WGS)
+ Enhanced Polar System (EPS)