Tuesday, July 29, 2014

5th Times the Charm

Tired of politics, tired of war, tired of airplane crashes, tired of arguing; here's something nice.

I have done this for thirty one years and could easily do it for thirty more without getting the least bit bored.  Twenty-eight years ago I watched the space shuttle Challenger turn from a target and vector into a cloud of uncorrelated targets on a radar screen, it took a while for what we just saw happen to sink in.  I have gone from working on radars, to ground stations, to the satellite programs themselves.  

I have watched probably close to two dozen launches and about six shuttle landings in person, innumerable others on a radar or tv screen and to this day, I can still stand on the beach in awe as I watch a twenty story tube of steel and aluminum rise on a column of flame and turn into a bright dot that gradually grows dimmer and dimmer until it finally winks out, and I could to it again tomorrow, and the next day, and the day after that.

From the AFSPC Factsheet:

GSSAP satellites will be a space-based capability operating in the near-geosynchronous orbit regime supporting U.S. Strategic Command space surveillance operations as a dedicated Space Surveillance Network (SSN) sensor.

GSSAP satellites will support Joint Functional Component Command for Space (JFCC SPACE) tasking to collect space situational awareness data allowing for more accurate tracking and characterization of man­ made orbiting objects. From a near-geosynchronous orbit, it will have a clear, unobstructed and distinct vantage point for viewing Resident Space Objects (RSOs) without the interruption of weather or the atmospheric distortion that can limit ground-based systems. GSSAP satellites will operate near the geosynchronous belt and will have the capability to perform Rendezvous and Proximity Operations (RPO). RPO allows for the space vehicle to maneuver near a resident space object of interest, enabling characterization for anomaly resolution and enhanced surveillance, while maintaining flight safety. Data from GSSAP will uniquely contribute to timely and accurate orbital predictions, enhancing our knowledge of the geosynchronous orbit environment, and further enabling space flight safety to include satellite collision avoidance.

AFSPC Factsheet 

United Launch Alliance 

ULA Mission Brochure 

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