Patrick Air Force Base Reservists Support Milestone Rocket Launch
By 920th Rescue Wing // October 6, 2015
PATRICK AIR FORCE BASE, FLORIDA – Reservists from the 920th Rescue Wing provided range clearance and safety support today for the 100th launch by United Launch Alliance.
An Atlas V rocket lifted off successfully from Launch Complex 41 at nearby Cape Canaveral Air Force Station at 6:28 a.m. today.
Onboard, the Morelos-3 communications satellite for Mexico’s Ministry of Communications and Transportation. The satellite, along with two others already in orbit, comprise the MEXSAT system, which was designed to provide communications to remote areas of Mexico, along with encrypted communications for Mexico’s national security. It was ULA’s 100th launch.
Roughly four to six hours prior to every launch, two wing HH-60G Pave Hawk rescue helicopters cleared the Eastern Range of all air and marine traffic. The Eastern Range is a 70-mile long by 10-mile wide patch of Atlantic Ocean extending east from CCAFS that is susceptible to falling rocket debris.
The rescue wing’s primary mission is combat search and rescue (CSAR), which includes rescuing servicemembers trapped and/or wounded behind enemy lines. Additionally, the wing performs civil search and rescue and humanitarian relief.
Since being activated in 1956, the 920th Rescue Wing has saved roughly 4,000 lives, including more than 850 combat rescues. It is the only CSAR unit in the Air Force Reserve.