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NOPS celebrates 20th anniversary

From left, Maj. David Rahl, National Reconnaissance Office Operations Squadron director of operations, Lt. Col. Roland Rainey, NOPS commander and Senior Master Sgt. Joseph Cavallaro, NOPS superintendent, hold a cake recognizing the NOPS’s 20th anniversary Oct. 30, 2020, at Schriever Air Force Base, Colorado. The NOPS employs global resources to provide critical connectivity and telemetry, tracking and command data while serving as the single NRO interface to the Air Force Satellite Control Network. (U.S. Space Force courtesy photo)

From left, Maj. David Rahl, National Reconnaissance Office Operations Squadron director of operations, Lt. Col. Roland Rainey, NOPS commander and Senior Master Sgt. Joseph Cavallaro, NOPS superintendent, hold a cake recognizing the NOPS’s 20th anniversary Oct. 30, 2020, at Schriever Air Force Base, Colorado. The NOPS employs global resources to provide critical connectivity and telemetry, tracking and command data while serving as the single NRO interface to the Air Force Satellite Control Network. (U.S. Space Force courtesy photo)

SCHRIEVER AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. --

The National Reconnaissance Office Operations Squadron recently celebrated its 20th anniversary here.

Lt. Col. Roland Rainey led a virtual event to celebrate the historical occasion, which had more than 70 NOPS-affiliated attendees from across the United States. The squadron recognized the members with the longest and shortest service times in the unit, highlighted some of the unit’s accomplishments from the past 20 years and the leadership team cut a cake commemorate the achievement.

“This is an incredible milestone for our squadron and a testament to the hard work the men and women of the NOPS contribute every day,” Rainey said. “I look forward to what the future holds for our organization.”

Since its inception, the unit has prided itself on employing critical tracking, telemetry and connectivity while serving as the single NRO interface to the Air Force Satellite Control Network.

“That year (2000) we had a few NRO user satellite programs and supported one launch mission,” said Mark Baggett, NOPS systems engineering and technical assistance contractor, who has worked in the squadron for more than 15 years. “We currently have over a dozen NRO and are on pace to support a record 30 launch missions this year.”

Additionally, the NOPS has collected performance data on 260 launches for the NRO, Department of Defense, civilian agencies such as NASA and commercial industries through agreements with the U.S. Space Force.

Moving forward, Rainey said the NOPS plans to develop robust operational and integration capabilities to meet the increasing demands placed on the National Reconnaissance Office and the Office of Space Launch directorate by mission partners in order to achieve national security objectives.

Baggett said the unit is one of many squadrons on Schriever who come together to serve the nation in their own way.

“I feel honored to be a part of this unit for the mission it accomplishes,” Baggett said. “I am fortunate to have been able to be a part of it for so long.”

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