Wednesday, March 25, 2015

9th-generation GPS satellite blasts off from 'The Cape'

45th Space Wing Public Affairs

3/25/2015 - CAPE CANAVERAL AIR FORCE STATION, Fla. -- The Air Force and the 45th Space Wing supported the successful launch of a United Launch Alliance Delta IV rocket that roared to life from Launch Complex 37, March 25, 2015, carrying the Air Force's ninth Block IIF-09 navigation satellite for the Global Positioning System at 2:36 p.m. EDT.

This launch is the fourth ULA launch this year and the 95th launch since the company was formed in December 2006.

GPS IIF-09 launched aboard a Delta IV Medium-plus (4,2) Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle, using a single ULA common booster core powered by an Aerojet Rocketdyne RS-68 main engine, along with two ATK GEM 60 solid rocket motors.

The upper stage was powered by an Aerojet Rocketdyne RL10B-2 engine with the
satellite encapsulated in a four-meter diameter composite payload fairing.

This launch marks the 29th Delta IV launch and the 57th operational GPS satellite to launch on a ULA or heritage launch vehicle. Delta IV has delivered numerous satellites for the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO), as well as GPS satellites for the Air Force and weather satellites for NASA, according to a ULA media release.

Once again, the 45th Space Wing team 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, safety, and public affairs.

Created by the Department of Defense to enhance military warfighting capability, GPS is available for use, free of charge, to anyone with a GPS receiver. U.S. and allied military forces use GPS devices in virtually every system to improve their capabilities and effectiveness while reducing risk to their forces and non-combatants. From finance to farming to tracking packages, use by the civilian community continues to grow rapidly and new commercial applications are continuously being developed.

The GPS IIF system brings next-generation performance to the constellation. The GPS IIF vehicle is critical to national security and sustaining GPS constellation availability for global civil, commercial and defense applications. Besides sustaining the GPS constellation, IIF features more capability and improved mission performance.

"In over 20 years since the initial operational capacity on Dec. 8, 1993, GPS has never failed to deliver on its global PNT commitment," said Brig. Gen. Bill Cooley, Global Positioning Directorate director, during a pre-launch media telecom, March 20.  "On April 27, we will celebrate the 20th anniversary of achieving full operational capability for GPS."

The 45th Space Wing commander was both proud and pleased with the team she works with here on the Eastern Range.

"First, let me 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," said Brig. Gen. Nina Armagno, 45th Space Wing commander, who also served as the Launch Decision Authority.

"What a treat -- and an honor -- it is to know that we have played such a significant part in something that we will celebrate two decades of helping people all around the world," Armagno said. "Every GPS satellite since the program's inception has been launched right here from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station safely and reliably by members of the 45th Space Wing."

"And that's because we continue to take a 'one launch at a time' mentality and focus on our number one priority - 100 percent Mission Success. I am so very proud to be part of Team Patrick-Cape."

Military reminds personnel to remain vigilant on social media

by Senior Airman Colby L. Hardin
22nd Air Refueling Wing Public Affairs

3/24/2015 - MCCONNELL AIR FORCE BASE, Kan. -- The digital age is making the world a smaller place and the "bad guys" could be a lot closer than you think.

It continues to be dynamic and evolving. Now it's almost a cultural norm around the Air Force and globe to have social media as a part of everyday life. Those who use it, also have the responsibility to protect themselves, information and the Air Force mission.

Airmen should consider the risks associated with posting personal information on social media sites. It could potentially put themselves or their family in danger without them realizing it.

"Social media is all controlled by you," said Capt. Michael Cox, 22nd Operational Security program manager. "Think twice before posting something."

With the ease of uploading information to social media sites, it's easy to forget that unwanted eyes may be watching.

One way to maintain a safe social media profile is to scrub social media pages of any military affiliations. This is one of many avenues Airmen can take to minimize the information available to potential enemies of the U.S.

Department of Defense personnel are also advised to report anything that looks suspicious to law enforcement.

"You just have to look for things that are out of the normal," said Cox. "If you see something that you don't see every day, you should question it. It could be as little as seeing a person in the office hanging around that you usually don't see."

In order to maintain readiness, all units are advised to review work place and off-installation action plans to ensure effectiveness.

"There has been no information of potential local activity," said Staff Sgt. Christina Manella, 22nd Security Forces Squadron force protection intelligence analyst. "But we need to ensure on and off duty that we have heightened situational awareness."

Reporting suspicious activity and monitoring social media use are just a few ways to make it hard for enemies to collect harmful information. Other ways include not giving out vacation plans and being aware of where you go in uniform when not at work.

"Beware of your surroundings," added Cox. "Keep doing what you're doing but stay vigilant at the same time."

Every unit is assigned an OPSEC manager to ensure that all questions are answered and appropriate actions are taken.

If you have any questions or to report suspicious activity, call the McConnell Eagle Eyes at (316) 759-3976.

Monday, March 23, 2015

GPS message indexing issue identified

Release Number: 010315

3/23/2015 - PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. -- A GPS message indexing issue was recently identified that affects a limited number of active GPS IIF satellites, but does not degrade the accuracy of the GPS signal received by users around the globe.

The result is an occasional broadcast not in accordance with U.S. technical specifications.  The issue appears to be related to the ground software that builds and uploads messages transmitted by the GPS constellation during regular system operations, although the Air Force continues to investigate all possible causes.

Although the issue was brought to light in the last few days, a close examination of archived GPS message data reveals that the message indexing error has gone unnoticed since 2013.  Air Force Space Command has implemented a workaround to prevent further message indexing violations and is taking steps to permanently correct the error.

If you have any questions, contact Mr Andy Roake at Air Force Space Command Public Affairs by responding to this email or calling 719-491-9451.  During normal business hours, call the Air Force Space Command Public Affairs main line at 719-554-3731.


3/23/2015 - VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif.  -- A team of Air Force Global Strike Command Airmen launched an unarmed Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missile equipped with a test reentry vehicle today at 3:36 a.m. Pacific Daylight Time from Vandenberg Air Force Base, California.

Every test launch verifies the accuracy and reliability of the ICBM weapon system, providing valuable data to ensure a safe, secure and effective nuclear deterrent. The launch team, under the direction of the 576th Flight Test Squadron, Vandenberg AFB, included Airmen from the 90th Missile Wing at F. E. Warren AFB, Wyoming.

"A lot of work and preparation goes in to an operational test launch from the teams on both bases," said Lt. Col Tytonia Moore, 90th MW, Task Force commander. "With these launches, we not only verify our processes and the ICBM weapon system, we provide a visual to the world that the Minuteman III is capable of striking pretty much anywhere with extreme precision."

"The role we play here is vital to the testing and evaluation of the Minuteman III program," said Col. Kelvin Townsend, 576th Flight Test Squadron commander. "We ensure the facilities and framework are in place to conduct operational test launches in a safe and secure manner with multiple team players contributing to the reliability of the test."

F. E. Warren AFB is one of three missile bases with crew members standing alert 24-7 year round, overseeing the nation's 450 ICBM alert forces.

The ICBM community, including the Department of Defense, the Department of Energy, and U.S. Strategic Command will use the data collected from this mission for continuing force development evaluation.

The ICBM test launch program demonstrates the operational credibility of the Minuteman III and ensures the United States' ability to maintain a strong, credible nuclear deterrent as a key element of U.S. national security and the security of U.S. allies and partners.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Two Reports: How to Strengthen Forensic Science Services and Dyes at the Molecular Level Help ID Fibers

Through the National Criminal Justice Reference Service, the National Institute of Justice (NIJ) has made available the following final technical reports, which are the result of NIJ-funded projects but were not published by the U.S. Department of Justice:

Strengthening Forensic Science Services through the DNA Capacity Enhancement & Backlog Reduction Program and Paul Coverdell Forensic Science Improvement Grants. This report summarizes comments and opinions from a 2014 meeting of crime laboratory directors on how to strengthen the backlog reduction and Coverdell programs. Attending the meeting were 25 laboratory directors representing 13 states, three counties, seven cities, one region and the District of Columbia, all of which received both DNA and Coverdell grants. The group's information and feedback will be used to develop strategies to strengthen the DNA and Coverdell programs and to promote the effective use and timely expenditures of grant funds. To read the report, go to

Validation of Forensic Characterization and Chemical Identification of Dyes Extracted from Millimeter-length Fibers. The objective of this research was to validate analytical methods for the forensic chemical characterization of dyes extracted from trace evidence fibers, thereby enhancing discrimination for comparison of known and questioned casework fibers. This study focused on determining the optimum extraction conditions for each dye class and developing chromatographic methods with suitable resolution and sensitivity for trace analysis. To read the report, go to