For Hometown News
The U.S. Air Force recently launched its sixth high-capacity communications satellite into orbit, strapped to a Medium+ Delta IV rocket, as airmen and HH-60G Pave Hawks from the 920th Rescue Wing safeguarded the hazard zone.
Two rescue helicopters took off from Patrick Air Force Base in Cocoa Beach on its mission in support of Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. The 920th patrols the hazard or "safe" zone surrounding the launch pad to ensure boaters are a safe distance from potentially falling rocket debris.
At 8:29 p.m. EDT, the four strap-on solid rocket motors and five-meter payload fairing of the Delta IV lit up the night sky of the Eastern Range, leaving a bright trail of billowy smoke in its wake as it raced toward space. To ensure continued safety on the Range, 920th Airmen remained airborne, while the rocket dashed into space.
"These things we do that others may live," is the creed Rescue Wing Airmen live by when carrying out their mission of saving lives, allowing them the benefit of having a front-row seat to dangerous, yet vital missions like combat rescue and rocket launches.
The rocket contained yet another satellite to support the Wideband Global SATCOM constellation, the nation's next-generation wideband satellite communications system.
The satellite will provide additional wideband SATCOM coverage for U.S. defense forces and international partners, to include Australia, which supported the cost of the sixth spacecraft under a partnership agreement.
Wideband Global SATCOM provides anytime, anywhere communication for the warfighter through broadcast, multicast, and point-to-point connections.
WGS is the only military satellite communications system that can support simultaneous X and Ka band communications.
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