by Airman 1st Class Emily E. Amyotte
460th Space Wing Public Affairs
2/17/2015 - BUCKLEY AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. -- Airmen
from the 460th Operations Group have made history by successfully
completing the first series of Space Based Infrared System satellite and
antenna communication on Jan. 28-30 from Block 10, the new operations
floor, on Buckley Air Force Base, Colo.
The communication to SBIRS satellites and ground antennas is the first
step in transforming Block 10 into the new, consolodated operations
floor for Defense Support Program, Highly Elliptical Orbit and
Currently, each type of satellite communication platform is in separate
locations across Colorado, making it difficult to communicate
efficiently as a whole. Bringing the three units together will unify the
SBIRS constellation under one roof.
"The intent of Block 10 is to bring all three platforms here in one
place to the Mission Control Station," said Capt. Natasha Rosario, 2nd
Space Warning Squadron SBIRS satellite engineering chief.
The first SBIRS command was sent on Jan. 28 by the youngest, newest
Airman in the 460th OG to the oldest satellite in orbit. Airman 1st
Class Brandon Cruz, 2nd Space Warning Squadron, was the first to send
commands to a DSP satellite from the Block 10 floor.
Wing and operations group leadership were at Block 10 on the 28th,
waiting to see history be made, and a celebration broke out when the
command came back successful.
"It was kind of fun," Rosario said. "They sent the very first one which
was on DSP, and everyone clapped after the first command went out. They
were like, 'yes it worked!'"
The second was done by Airman 1st Class Ali Tabbicca, 2 SWS, to the
first HEO payload, the third by Senior Airman David Deadmon, 2 SWS, to
the GEO payload.
There's a year and a half until all three platforms will be working on
the Block 10 floor, which will then be called Mission Control Station 2,
Rosario said. There will be a period of checking out the Block 10
system and software, assuring the ground software delivery can be
"We've put testing and rehearsals and practices in place to make sure
that we not only check out the system, but that the people are also
ready and bringing those two things together as well," Rosario said.
It will be a crawl, walk, then run progression.
Starting with live, single communication, which is what they have
already begun, the 460th OG will continue testing their communication
with only one satellite or antenna at a time.
The second stage, which will be communicating with two satellites or
antennas at a time, will begin in the next month or two. For example,
communicating with GEO and HEO simultaneously. An estimated year from
now, the OG will have full communication with the entire SBIRS
constellation at one time.
This advancement means a lot for the 460th OG and Team Buckley as a
whole Rosario said. The squadron will almost double in size and many OG
Airmen will have to undertake many hours of training to keep up with the
transition to Block 10.
Airmen from the other Colorado SBIRS locations are scheduled to move to
Buckley to finish the transition and unify the SBIRS constellation.
"This is a major milestone for a multi-billion dollar system toward a
critical national mission in which we have been diligently working for a
very long time," said Col. Michael Jackson, 460th OG commander.