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Colombian air force visits Kaena Point Satellite Tracking Station

SCHRIEVER AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. -- Two members of the Colombian Air Force visited Detachment 3, 21st Space Operations Squadron in Feb. as part of burgeoning international cooperation efforts in space. The tracking station is located near Kaena Point on the Waianae Mountain Range on the island of Oahu. Hawaii Tracking Station provides satellite command and control as part of the Air Force Satellite Control Network, which consists of seven remote tracking stations located around the world.

Capt. Fabio Sandoval and Andrea Correchea, were tasked by the Colombian chief of staff of the air force with learning about small satellite development and launch capacity. Visiting with Hawaii Tracking Station personnel reinforced their understanding of how ground and space-based elements work together to create a space system. This understanding is essential to developing functioning space systems whether for Earth monitoring or communications, both capabilities identified in Colombia's space strategy for acquisition.  

The site operates two AFSCN antennas that are used to support more than 170 Department of Defense, national and allied satellites with missions, such as communications, reconnaissance, navigation, weather and early warning. During the visit, the group discussed the basics of satellite operations and highlighted the AFSCN ability to provide satellite command and control around the world. 

"At Hawaii Tracking Station, our integrated team of military, government civilians and contractors are directly involved in keeping satellites, such as GPS fully, operational so they can perform their mission for our military, our nation and our allied partners" said Tech. Sgt. Kyle Fenimore, Detachment 3 NCO in Charge

Capt. Allen Little, Detachment 5, 2nd Weather Squadron Commander, briefed the Colombian air force. Little, a native Spanish speaker described the importance of observing solar activity, as well as the potential impacts to space systems due to this activity. 

"Real time space weather monitoring plays an essential role in satellite operations and communications," said Little. "In South America, strong ionospheric scintillation can significantly degrade space capabilities. Knowledge of real-time solar effects makes it possible to determine the most favorable, and unfavorable, conditions for space operations."

Space security cooperation is important to meeting United States Southern Command goals of ensuring access to space as a global common. As we and our partner nations have learned, space-based capabilities are foundational to all operations. Assisting our partner nations in the development of their space-based capabilities leads to better enabled operations which, in turn, leads to regional security. The Colombian air force's space strategy will enable regional stability operations such as peacekeeping, humanitarian assistance and disaster relief.

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