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50 NOG opens summer with satellite launches

A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket with an Iridium NEXT satellite launches from Space Launch Complex-4, at Vandenberg Air Force Base, California, January 14, 2017. Two of the 50th Network Operations Group's satellites are scheduled to launch from Vandenberg AFB this summer. (U.S Air Force photo/Michael Peterson)

A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket with an Iridium NEXT satellite launches from Space Launch Complex-4, at Vandenberg Air Force Base, California, January 14, 2017. Two of the 50th Network Operations Group's satellites are scheduled to launch from Vandenberg AFB this summer. (U.S Air Force photo/Michael Peterson)

SCHRIEVER AIR FORCE BASE, Colo.-- --


The 50th Network Operations Group will open the summer season supporting five satellite launches in a 90-day timeframe, continuing to strengthen our partnerships to protect, defend and operate critical national space systems.

This marks the start of a busy summer for the 50 NOG, whose support of these launches will further the 50th Space Wing's mission of commanding space and cyber systems to deliver global combat effects by building a more resilient Air Force Satellite Control Network architecture.

"These launches will help our valuable and important space structure in a timely and efficient manner," said 1st. Lt. Arthur Williams, 22nd Space Operations Squadron launch officer. "A lot of people rely on AFSCN support for telemetry, data, sending commands and tracking orbits among other things."

While the exact roles of the satellites cannot be disclosed, Williams said they definitely provide positive benefits towards U.S. space dominance.

"Getting this support structure in place can help our troops on the ground, as well as help the civilian and commercial sector," he said. "Schriever is home to many different space operations squadrons, with varying missions, so getting all these different payloads into space only adds to their mission."

Three of the satellites will be launched from Cape Canaveral, Florida, on June 1, 15 and July 1; while two will be set to launch from Vandenberg Air Force Base, California, on June 25 and July 22. Schriever space squadrons, such as 22 SOPS, will play a shared role in the process, ensuring a smooth transition of the satellite from launch to operations. During this time, the 50 NOG will continue to support their user’s scheduling nominal operations contacts to their 175 satellites on a daily basis.

Marc Yardley, 22 SOPS satellite network scheduling supervisor, said while launches are common for 22 SOPS and the 50 NOG, it is always an anticipated event.

"Launch day is always a big deal," Yardley said. "We are in a heightened state of alert; I've been there for quite a few launches. I've lost track, but it's always exciting to watch; to see the process and preparation build all the way to launch day."

Yardley said the launches indicate a promising summer for Schriever and the 50 SW's role of delivering global combat effects.

"The ultimate end user is the warfighter," Yardley said. "That’s why we help do this; to provide them real time assets, communication and intel and keep them out of harm’s way. That's what we do."

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