Science and Technology News

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Reserve wing ensures safe passage for GPS satellite launch

by 920th Rescue Wing Public Affairs

10/29/2014 - PATRICK AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. -- Reservists from the 920th Rescue Wing provided range-clearance and safety support for the successful launch of a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station at 1:21 p.m. today.

The payload for today's launch included the Air Force's eighth Block IIF navigation satellite for the Global Positioning System.

GPS IIF-8 is one of the next-generation satellites, incorporating various improvements to provide greater accuracy, increased signals, and enhanced performance for users.

Hours before launch, two wing HH-60G Pave Hawk helicopters took off from Patrick AFB to patrol the Eastern Range, the 70-mile long by 10-mile wide swath of ocean extending east from the Cape that must be cleared of all air & marine traffic prior to every launch to ensure boaters are a safe distance from potentially falling rocket debris.

The 920th performs combat search and rescue as its primary mission, which includes rescuing servicemembers trapped and or wounded behind enemy lines.

Additionally, the wing is responsible for civil search and rescue, humanitarian relief and support of rocket launches. To date, the unit has saved more than 4,000 lives, both in peacetime and combat.

For more information on the 920th Rescue Wing, follow them on Facebook and Twitter.

**Information from a 45th Space Wing news story was used in this release**

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