by Scott Prater
10/30/2012 - SCHRIEVER AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. -- The
2nd Space Operations Squadron accepted satellite control authority of
its third Global Positioning System Block IIF satellite during a
ceremony here Oct. 26.
Following its launch from Cape Canaveral, Fla., Oct. 4, acquirers from
the Space and Missile Systems Center and operators from the 50th and
310th Space Wings first performed a three-week check out of the
spacecraft before placing it into a primary slot in the GPS
Col. Bernard Gruber, GPS director at SMC, initiated the Oct. 26 ceremony
by transferring satellite control authority of the vehicle, known as
SVN-65, to the 14th Air Force.
"Everything went smoothly following the launch," Gruber said. "This is
the third GPS Block IIF that we've placed on orbit and the process seems
to get better with each launch. We were able to decrease the timeline
for checkout of the vehicle and it's clear we're on the right track for
Col. Todd Brost, 14 AF director of operations and exercises, accepted
SCA and transferred it to 50 SW Commander, Col. James Ross.
"Shrinking the checkout timeline is important because it means we can
get these satellites available to the users as quickly as possible,"
Ross said. "This is a great model for the acquisition and operational
communities to work together as a team."
Following acceptance of SCA, Ross then delegated command and control of SVN-65 to Lt. Col. Thomas Ste. Marie, 2 SOPS commander.
"I want to thank the full team who executed such a smooth transition
from the Space and Missile Systems Center personnel who traveled from
California, to the local partnership with our Air Force Reserve
teammates in 19 SOPS, to my own team at 2 SOPS," Ste. Marie said.
"Launch and initialization is one of those things that can keep a
commander up at night, but there were no worries at all. It is this
synchronized triple partnership between these organizations that made
this SCA possible."
Global Positioning Satellites transmit digital radio signals to
receivers on the ground, allowing military and civilian users to
calculate their time, location and velocity.
The Block IIF series is the fifth generation of GPS spacecraft and
provides improved timing technology, a more jam-resistant military
signal and higher powered civilian signal compared to previous models.
SVN-65 was designed to operate on orbit for 12 years and includes a
reprogrammable processor capable of receiving software uploads.
Lt. Col. Dean Holthaus, 2 SOPS director of operations, had kudos for the
Boeing team, who built not only this Block IIF satellite, SVN-65, but
also the Block IIA it replaced.
"SVN-65 brings increased capability to the warfighter and replaces an
aging satellite in the operational constellation that has served
admirably and far surpassed its design life," Holthaus said.
The launch and orbit of SVN-65 was of particular significance for 2 and
19 SOPS members, who dedicated the launch and checkout to former 19 SOPS
satellite vehicle operator, Capt. Vivian Elmo, who was killed in a
traffic crash during the summer of 2011. Elmo played an integral role in
the launch and operation of the first two GPS Block IIFs.
The new vehicle joins 30 other GPS satellites currently on orbit in operational status.
The next GPS Block IIF vehicle launch is slated for May of 2013.