The public now knows what many in the national security community suspected: That early warning system was the Space Based Infrared System, a constellation of satellites that surveils Earth’s surface 24/7 to detect missiles. Rarely has the Defense Department offered such a high profile example of the system’s capabilities and its direct impact on the American war fighter.This is the story of the people — the men and women of the Space Force’s 2nd Space Warning Squadron at Buckley Air Force Base, Colorado — who operated SBIRS that night and provided that critical early warning to seek cover. In an exclusive interview, they brought C4ISRNET behind the scenes of one of the most high profile missile attacks on American forces in recent history. In many ways, it was a night like any other, with the squadron reading the data generated by the satellites and reporting it out. But with the lives of their fellow service members on the line, the stakes had rarely felt higher.