Rescue Warriors Support Space Coast Rocket Launch Carrying GPS

By  //  July 20, 2015

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The 920th Rescue Wing supported the successful launch of a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket carrying a GPS IIF-10, one of the next-generation GPS satellites, incorporating various improvements to provide greater accuracy, increased signals, and enhanced performance for users, both civilian and military alike. (AmericaSpace Image)

BREVARD COUNTY • CAPE CANAVERAL AIR FORCE STATION, FLORIDA – The 920th Rescue Wing supported the successful launch of a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket carrying a GPS IIF-10, one of the next-generation GPS satellites, incorporating various improvements to provide greater accuracy, increased signals, and enhanced performance for users, both civilian and military alike.

The rocket roared skyward from Launch Complex 41 here July 14 at 11:36 a.m. EDT. The satellite is the Air Force’s tenth Block IIF navigation satellite for the Global Positioning System.

The rocket flew in the 401 vehicle configuration with a four-meter fairing, no solid rocket boosters and a single-engine Centaur upper stage.

Once again Team Patrick-Cape consisting of military personnel, government civilians, and contractors provided support to the ULA launch of the Air Force Space Command mission, including weather forecasts, launch and range operations, security and safety.

GPS IIF-10 marks the 55th Atlas V launch since the vehicle’s inaugural launch in 2002, and the 27th flight of the 401 configuration.

Every operational GPS mission has launched on a ULA or heritage rocket from here.

GPS satellites serve and protect our warfighters by providing navigational assistance for U.S. military operations on land, at sea, and in the air.

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Civilian users around the world also use and depend on GPS for highly accurate time, location, and velocity information.

According to the Global Navigation Satellite Systems Agency, there are four billion GPS-enabled devices worldwide, a number that is expected to double in the next five years.

Gen. John Hyten, commander, Air Force Space Command, who attended the launch with his wife, Laura, and Chief Master Sgt. Douglas McIntyre, AFSPC Command Chief, talked about the Airmen who make GPS possible.

Gen. John Hyten

Gen. John Hyten

“If you go to Schriever Air Force Base today and you walk into the 2nd Space Operations Squadron, in a little room you’ll find seven Airmen,” he said in a recent speech.

“(Their) average age will be about 23 years old. Those Airmen are providing everything that is GPS for the entire world. Everything.”

“So if you’re on a bass boat in the middle of Alabama; if you’re on a golf course in the middle of Scotland; wherever you happen to be using GPS, those seven Airmen, average age 23, are providing those capabilities. That’s pretty amazing,” said Hyten.

Brig. Gen. Nina Armagno, 45th Space Wing commander, Patrick Air Force Base, Fla., who served as the mission’s Launch Decision Authority for the last time prior to her change of command ceremony Aug. 4, echoed Gen. Hyten’s comments.

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Brig. Gen. Nina Armagno

“General Hyten is right on the money; it IS pretty amazing the work our Airmen do,” said Brig. Gen. Nina Armagno.

“And while I offer my heartiest congratulations to ULA, Boeing, Space and Missile Systems Center, the Launch Systems Directorate, the Global Positioning Systems Directorate, and all the mission partners who made this happen, let me just say the greatest professional experience of my life has been to lead the Airmen — ‘The Big A” — who make up Team Patrick-Cape.”

“I have had the privilege of working with the greatest space team ever assembled for the past two-plus years — highly motivated, very well trained, remarkably innovative and always able to keep their focus on the mission in front of them,” said Armagno.

“It’s been my honor to serve on this team, and I can’t thank you enough for all you’ve done — and will continue to do in the future for our Wing, our Air Force and our nation,” she said.

The 920th RQW is a combat search and rescue unit that organizes and trains to save lives. As part of its life-saving mission, Rescue Warrior clear and secure the Eastern Range prior to every Space Coast launch.

The Reserve Wing owns and operates 15 HH-60G Pave Hawk Helicopters and 6 HC-130 King Refuelers.


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