Science and Technology News

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Team Black Jack takes command of newest GPS satellite

by 2nd Lt. Darren Domingo
50th Space Wing Public Affairs

7/27/2015 - SCHRIEVER AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. -- The 50th Space Wing's 2nd and 19th Space Operations Squadrons accepted command and control of the tenth Global Positioning System Block IIF satellite here July 24.

The Space and Missile Systems Center's GPS Directorate, located at Los Angeles Air Force Base, California, remained in control of the satellite during an on-orbit checkout period before the hand-off to 2 and 19 SOPS.

"We're extremely honored to accept command and control of the tenth GPS IIF satellite," said Lt. Col. Todd Benson, 2 SOPS commander. "The phenomenal team from the Space and Missiles Systems Center, 45th Space Wing and 19 SOPS were pivotal to this successful launch."

Lt. Col. Sam Baxter, 19 SOPS commander, explained the importance of his team's role in transfer operations.

"Satellite Control Authority transfers are proud moments for Team Black Jack," said Baxter. "Nineteen SOPS has lead responsibilities for launch and checkout operations of new satellites. Our civilians and Airmen leverage their years of experience and expertise to configure the satellite for its final operating configuration."

Upon completion of the transfer, the majority of 19 SOPS' operations are concluded, while 2 SOPS continues satellite operations.

Beyond its essential capabilities for the military, GPS is a worldwide utility that provides highly accurate positioning, navigation and timing services for people all around the world.

Additionally, the U.S. and global economy rely on space and cyberspace to enable such vital activities as banking, weather forecasting, transportation, global commerce and farming/agriculture.

"Today's GPS constellation is the largest and most robust it has ever been," said Capt. Aaron Blain, GPS analyst flight commander. "With a constellation composed of 40 satellites and four different models, it is both a challenge and a privilege to operate and maintain."

The members of 2 and 19 SOPS operate the largest Department of Defense satellite constellation via the Master Control Station and a worldwide network of monitoring stations and ground antennas.

"2 SOPS' continuing objective is to ensure GPS remains the gold standard for global space-based navigation and timing by providing highly reliable and accurate GPS signals to users around the world," said Benson. "We look forward to continuing to provide our mission partners and global users with the most accurate position, navigation and timing signal available in the history of GPS."

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