Science and Technology News

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

45th Space Wing successfully launches ORBCOMM; historically lands first stage booster

by 45th Space Wing Public Affairs

12/21/2015 - CAPE CANAVERAL AIR FORCE STATION, Fla.  -- The U.S. Air Force's 45th Space Wing successfully supported the launch of a Falcon 9 rocket during its mission to put ORBCOMM's OG2 communications satellites in to orbit Dec. 21 at 8:29 p.m. from Space Launch Complex 40 here.

Then just nine minutes following the launch was the first-ever successful landing of the Falcon 9's first stage booster at Landing Zone 1 (formerly Complex 13) at 8:38 p.m. EST on CCAFS.

"Today clearly placed the exclamation mark on 2015, by closing out another successful year for the Eastern Range in historic fashion," said Brig. Gen. Wayne Monteith, 45th Space Wing commander and launch decision authority. "This launch and flyback speaks volumes to the hard work this team puts in every single day driving innovation and success. This was a first for us at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, and I can't even begin to describe the excitement the team feels right now having been a part of this historic first-stage rocket landing."

The Falcon 9 launch was the second and final launch of ORBCOMM OG2 from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. The OG2 is a commercial satellite network uses low-Earth orbit (LEO) satellites to provide reliable and cost-effective M2M communications to and from in the most remote areas of the world.

Before any spacecraft can launch from CCAFS, a combined team of military, government civilians and contractors from across the 45th SW provide the mission assurance to ensure a safe and successful lift-off for their range customers.

Eastern Range instrumentation provides radar tracking, telemetry, communications, command/control sites, camera and optical sites, and other support capabilities such as meteorology.  Instrumentation is necessary to safely and successfully conduct civil, commercial, and national security spacelift operations and ballistic missile tests and evaluation. Eastern Range assets are based on dependable designs and technology and are arrayed in a highly efficient architecture designed to ensure safety of the launch environment and the public at large.

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