SCHRIEVER AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. --
A crew consisting of all Reserve Citizen Airmen from the 6th Space Operations Squadron at Schriever Air Force Base, Colorado recently made history by achieving their 40,000th satellite contact. As part of the only space wing in the Air Force Reserve, the 310th Space Wing, 6th SOPS’ accomplishment signifies just how far the Reserve has come in space operations.
“6th SOPS has been an outstanding partner to the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration and Air Force Space Command for 20 years now,” said Col. Traci Kueker-Murphy, 310th SW commander. “Their collective operational wisdom regarding the Defense Meteorological Satellite Program mission has repeatedly proven invaluable in executing and preserving this globally-impacting mission.”
6th SOPS is partnered with Detachment 1, 50th Operations Group, and are responsible for backing up NOAA, located in Suitland, Maryland. They also provide the backup command and control center for the DMSP, delivering strategic and tactical weather prediction to aid military operations planning at sea, on land and in the air.
Maj. Christopher Bert, one of the members on crew during the 40,000th contact, explains what a satellite support or contact consists of.
“[It is] when the operator establishes a connection with the vehicle in order to communicate, gather state of health information and upload or download data,” Bert said. “The significance of the 40,000 contacts mark, to me, is proof that the Air Force has the people, skills and expertise to take everything we do to the extreme. It is a testament to the dedication and passion that we, as space operators, have for the mission and for the strength and protection of our country.”
The 310th SW commander and Col. Stephen Slade, commander of the 310th Operations Group commander, presented the crew with a celebratory “check” to commemorate the event. Crew members were surprised by the presentation since they were kept in the dark about the upcoming achievement.
“I was not aware, but I knew that something strange was going on,” said Bert. “Everybody [who knew] was acting a bit suspicious.”
“40,000 contacts is a pretty spectacular milestone and we're very proud of it,” Kueker-Murphy said. “It’s just a small representation of how essential 6 SOPS is to this program."