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Onizuka facility receives 1st MET upgrade

A construction company builds a Modernized Earth Terminal at the 21st Space Operations Squadron’s Ellison Onizuka Satellite Operations Facility, June 16, 2016. The new system will replace two 38-foot antennas, pedestals and associated equipment with two state-of-the-art antennas and communications equipment. This project is part of continued Air Force Satellite Control Network modernization efforts. (Courtesy photo)

A construction company builds a Modernized Earth Terminal at the 21st Space Operations Squadron’s Ellison Onizuka Satellite Operations Facility, June 16, 2016. The new system will replace two 38-foot antennas, pedestals and associated equipment with two state-of-the-art antennas and communications equipment. This project is part of continued Air Force Satellite Control Network modernization efforts. (Courtesy photo)

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, California --

After two years of planning, the Modernized Earth Terminal project broke ground February 2016 at the 21st Space Operations Squadron’s Ellison Onizuka Satellite Operations Facility at Vandenberg Air Force Base. 

The new system will replace two 38-foot antennas, pedestals and associated equipment with two state-of-the-art antennas and communications equipment.

The dual Earth terminals located at the facility provide command and control communications support to the Air Force Satellite Control Network, the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration, the 30th Space Wing Western Range, the 45th Space Wing Eastern Range and many other government agencies.

According to Shawn Patterson, Air Force Wideband Enterprise Terminal program manager, the new terminals are part of “a system of systems.”  Using a variety of satellites to transfer data, these terminals provide a backbone for the Global Information Grid.  The MET equipment is capable of utilizing both the X and Ka bands on the Wideband Global SATCOM satellite, allowing for increased traffic.  Legacy equipment currently operates in X band only.  

The project is being accomplished by several government agencies with overall coordination responsibility falling on Ramona Leon-Guererro, 21 SOPS project manager.

There were several major players involved with the installation.

Tobyhanna Army Depot is responsible for installing the majority of the hardware to include the antenna and pedestal.

The U.S Army’s Information Systems Engineering Command is responsible for installing the communications equipment, which will significantly decrease the current equipment footprint in the facility. 

Alignment and testing of the antenna is scheduled to begin in September, followed by on-site acceptance testing and joint site acceptance testing expected to be complete in the first quarter of 2017.  The second antenna’s installation is scheduled in the second quarter 2017.

Some information courtesy of http://www.arpc.afrc.af.mil/News/ArticleDisplay/tabid/267/Article/610119/3rd-largest-wideband-enterprise-terminal-upgrade-in-progress.aspx.

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