45th Operations Group Detachment 3
45th Operations Group Detachment 3

45th Operations Group Detachment 3


A mission video highlight of the 45th Operations Group Detachment 3 (DET 3), located at Patrick Air Force Base, Florida. Since 1959, the DET 3 team has supported NASA Human Space Flight Operations, including the historic 2020 SpaceX Demo-2 launch of American astronauts into space. This detachment, also known as the Guardian Angels, coordinates DOD contingency support for United States human space flight programs. Its roots go back to the 1959 charter by the Secretary of Defense as the DOD Mercury Support Office. Later renamed DOD Manned Space Flight Support Office. Since its inception the office has continued to be the principle facilitator for all DOD contingency support to Projects Mercury, Gemini, and Apollo; the Apollo-Soyuz Test Project; the Space Shuttle Program, the International Space Station/Soyuz Program; the Orion Program; and the presidential commercial space initiative.
45th Operations Group Detachment 3
Pararescuemen from various units around the country arrived at Patrick Air Force Base, Fla., May 6, 2020, working with 45th Operations Group, Detachment 3 personnel and mission partners in the weeks leading up to the return to human spaceflight. (U.S. Space Force photo by Senior Airman Dalton Williams)

The 45th Operations Group is a United States Space Force unit. It is assigned to the 45th Space Wing, stationed at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida. Up until 2003, the 45th Operations Group was responsible for program management and operation of up to five squadrons which perform all Eastern Range launch operations including Delta II, Delta III, Atlas II, Atlas III, Titan IV, Space Shuttle, Pegasus, and Athena space launch vehicles.The Operations Group provides support to Naval Ordnance Test Unit operations. In support of space launch operations, the Operations Group coordinates training for the wing, manages all wing spacecraft services systems and facilities, and manages the Cape Canaveral AFS Skid Strip and the Patrick AFB air traffic complex, handling more than 24,000 aircraft operations annually.

45th Operations Group Detachment 3
The 249th AS worked with NASA, the 920th Rescue Wing, the 45th Space Wing and Detachment 3 of the 45th Operations Group to develop tactics, training and procedures to quickly and safely recover astronauts in the event they would need to abort their spacecraft. (Courtesy photo by Senior Airman Zac Heinen)
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