May 6, 1942

The Army establishes Colorado Springs Army Air Base at the city's municipal airport. The city leased the land to the military for in-kind considerations. That deal continues today, with Peterson Air Force Base troops acting as the Colorado Springs Airport's fire department.

It is the only Pikes Peak region military base to operate on city-owned land.

Aug. 8, 1942

Lt. Edward Peterson is killed when his P-38 photo reconnaissance plane crashes on takeoff at the base. The base is later renamed for Peterson, a Colorado native.

Dec. 31, 1945

The Army terminates its lease and returns Peterson to the city, which keeps the base in mothballs. In a halting process, the base is reopened twice for the Air Force and closed before the service returns for good in 1951.

Jan. 1, 1951

Air Defense Command, later renamed Aerospace Defense Command, is activated in Colorado Springs. The command, which was housed at Ent Air Force Base off Union Boulevard, now the U.S. Olympic Training Center, ran a network of radars to detect incursions by Soviet bombers.

Sept. 12, 1957

The North America Aerospace Defense Command is established in Colorado Springs, combining the military power of the United States and Canada to defend the continent from attack. In less than a month, NORAD crews are tracking the Soviet Union's Sputnik, the world's first satellite.

Feb. 26, 1960

Midas-1, the nation's first missile warning satellite, rockets to orbit.

Oct. 7, 1960

The Pentagon assigns units in Colorado Springs "operational command of all space surveillance."

July 1, 1961

The handover of two radar sites formalizes Peterson's role in tracking objects in space.

May 24, 1962

The Air Force launches its first weather satellite

Jan. 20, 1965

The first units are moved to Cheyenne Mountain Air Force station, an annex of Peterson that houses troops under a half-mile of granite in an underground bunker.

June 16, 1966

The military launches its first communication satellites.

Nov. 6, 1970

The first Defense Support Program satellite is launched, giving America unrivaled capability to detect enemy missile launches from space.

Feb. 22, 1978

The first Global Positioning System satellite is launched, the start of a constellation run from Colorado Springs that provides navigation and timing signals to military and civilian users worldwide.

Sept. 1, 1982

Air Force Space Command is formed in Colorado Springs to oversee the service's missions in orbit.

Dec. 6, 1984

The first Space Symposium opens in Colorado Springs, drawing about 250 military and civilian space experts to The Broadmoor. The event has grown into the nation's largest space convention, drawing more than 14,000 people.

Sept. 23, 1985

U.S. Space Command is formed in Colorado Springs to oversee all military operations in space.

Sept. 26, 1985

Falcon Air Force Base opens on the plains east of Colorado Springs. It is the military's first based dedicated to controlling satellites.

Aug. 2, 1990

Iraqi troops invade Kuwait, kicking off what would become the Persian Gulf War. It's the first war that saw American troops rely on satellites for communication, navigation and reconnaissance, services provided by airmen in Colorado Springs.

Oct. 1, 2002

U.S. Space Command is shuttered as part of post Cold War downsizing at the Pentagon. While oversight of space missions is passed to U.S. Strategic Command in Omaha, Neb., few troops actually leave Colorado Springs, since most of the work stays with Air Force Space Command here.

Aug. 13, 2018

Congress approves a measure reestablishing U.S. Space Command, kicking off a process to determine where it will be housed.

Dec. 20, 2019

The Space Force is founded.

May 15

Colorado Springs is named the provisional home for Space Command, a title that will keep the command here through 2026.

Nov. 19

Colorado Springs is named a finalist to permanently house U.S. Space Command.


Pentagon team arrives to evaluate Colorado Springs in its bid to keep the command.

Contact Tom Roeder: 636-0240

Twitter: @xroederx

Senior Military Editor

Tom Roeder is the Gazette's senior military editor. In Colorado Springs since 2003, Tom covers seven military installations in Colorado, including five in the Pikes Peak region. His main job, though, is being dad to two great kids.

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