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Schriever Sentinel

3 SOPS takes command, control of WGS-2

Lt. Col. Jean Eisenhut, 3rd Space Operations Squadron commander, signals to her crew with a thumbs up that they just received command and control of the Wideband Global SATCOM-2 satellite Aug. 18. The satellite was launched into orbit April 3 and initially controlled by the Air Force Space and Missile Systems Center at Los Angeles AFB, Calif. The transfer of the satellite from SMC to 3rd SOPS takes five minutes over the phone, but involves years of preparation. The next generation of WGS satellites, WGS-3, are currently slated for launch later this year.

Lt. Col. Jean Eisenhut, 3rd Space Operations Squadron commander, signals to her crew with a thumbs up that they just received command and control of the Wideband Global SATCOM-2 satellite Aug. 18. The satellite was launched into orbit April 3 and initially controlled by the Air Force Space and Missile Systems Center at Los Angeles AFB, Calif. The transfer of the satellite from SMC to 3rd SOPS takes five minutes over the phone, but involves years of preparation. The next generation of WGS satellites, WGS-3, are currently slated for launch later this year.

Airmen of the 3rd Space Operations Squadron were part of a historic transfer made at 10 a.m. Aug. 18 when they took command and control of the second Wideband Global SATCOM satellite system from Air Force Space and Systems Center at Los Angeles AFB, Calif.

Lt. Col. Jean Eisenhut, 3 SOPS commander, along with Col. Kenneth Allison, 50th Space Wing vice commander, and Col. Stanford Kekauoha, 50th Operations Group commander, accepted the transfer of responsibility approved by Col. Lee-Volker Cox, 14th Air Force A3, via a teleconference that also included Brig. Gen. Samuel Greaves, Military Satellite Communications Systems Wing commander.

The WGS-2 mission is the second installment of the WGS system. WGS satellites are important elements of a new high-capacity satellite communications system providing enhanced communications capabilities to America’s troops around the world for the next decade and beyond. WGS enables more robust and flexible execution of command and control, communications computers, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance as well as battle management and combat support information functions. WGS-2 augments the existing service of the WGS-1 satellite and the Defense Satellite Communications System constellation by providing additional information broadcast capabilities.

WGS-2 was successfully launched into orbit April 3, 2009, from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla. The satellite is positioned to provide support to U.S. Central Command in Afghanistan, Iraq and others parts of Southwest Asia.

Throughout the next few years, the number of WGS satellites will increase to six, with the Air Force looking at putting a total of 11 in orbit in the future. (Article courtesy of 3 SOPS)

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