Falcon 9 Launch Gave Local Expertise Opportunity To Shine In World Spotlight

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ABOVE VIDEO: Air Force Space Command was highlighted on the 60 Minutes TV show, April 26. (CBS News 24 Video)

BREVARD COUNTY • PATRICK AIR FORCE BASE, FLORIDA – Team, to use a baseball analogy, we are batting cleanup on a major league team. And we just hit one out of the park. Again.

What I’m referring to is the performance I watched — our 45th Space Wing vice commander, Col. Shawn Fairhurst, who served as the Launch Decision Authority — for the unbelievable hard work and team work demonstrated by Team Patrick-Cape, SpaceX, and all our mission partners who worked in total lock-step during Monday evening’s launch of a Falcon 9 mission from Complex 40 at historic Cape Canaveral Air Force Station.

Col. Shawn Fairhurst
Col. Shawn Fairhurst

Even though weather at the opening of the launch widow looked iffy, our entire team worked their respective checklists, used a disciplined and safe process execution … and WOW!

When an opening in the cloud cover represented itself 49 minutes into the window, we successfully launched another successful mission, our number one priority.

It was just beautiful teamwork, and from where I sitting — I just could NOT be any prouder.

And where was I sitting?

I had the great honor of flying on Jolly 1 with Col. Jeffrey “Skinny” Macrander Commander, 920th Rescue Wing, as the lead pilot as we cleared the box — just a terrific experience.

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What’s really cool about the timing of this mission, was that it occurred almost exactly 24 hours after Air Force Space Command was highlighted on the 60 Minutes TV show, April 26.

I hope many of you were able to see it, because if you never really understood the importance of what we do in this high-stakes space business you would after watching that segment.

As Gen. John Hyten, Air Force Space Command commander, likes to say, “there is no such thing as a day without space.

Gen. John Hyten
Gen. John Hyten

“Think of what life used to be like and all the things that we have today in warfare that wouldn’t exist without space,” he said on the long-time Sunday night news show.

“Remotely piloted aircraft, all-weather precision guided munitions didn’t exist before space. Now we can attack any target on the planet, anytime, anywhere, in any weather.”

Team, what we do here MATTERS — and has world-wide implications, and if you ever question what kind of importance our senior leaders give to our many varied missions here on the Space Coast, listen to this.

“This is where space begins,” said Hyten.

“If you can’t get the satellite into space, it’s worthless. I’m a satellite guy. So I get very nervous around rockets. Because the most valuable thing on the rocket is the top — is the satellite. ‘Cause when you have 500,000 pounds of thrust, if anything goes wrong, it’s an explosion. It’s dangerous. And you lose the capabilities that’s on the top,” he said.

I think that’s as clear as it gets, and it’s coming from the very top.

So thanks again for all you do — and Stay Focused, Sharks!