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Schriever Sentinel

ORS-1 earns technology award for performance, innovation

By Scott Prater

Schriever Sentinel

Operationally Responsive Space-1 has become a familiar name at Schriever. Most folks here are aware of the satellite’s functions and capabilities because of its connection with the 1st and 7th Space Operations Squadrons, which operate the satellite 24/7.

Now, the rest of the world is taking notice.

The Association of Old Crows, an organization that advocates for and provides education about electronic warfare, information operations and cyber technologies, will honor the ORS-1 satellite program with its 2012 Mission Sustainment Integrated Product Team award during its annual convention this September in Phoenix.

The organization lists a multitude of reasons for choosing ORS-1 as its IPT recipient, but providing urgent-need imaging to U.S. Central Command at 20 percent of the cost of traditional satellite systems stood out, according to Vince Battaglia, president of the Greater Los Angeles AOC chapter.

“The ORS-1 team achieved a multi-objective accomplishment by transitioning proven airborne technology to a dual-use space application, significantly reducing cost and schedule, Battaglia said. “The team demonstrated a ‘where there’s a will, there’s a way’ mentality by obtaining exemption from the standard development process, using direct coordination and oversight by the DOD executive agent for space.”

The AOC recognized all units associated with the satellite, including 1 SOPS and 7 SOPS, the Space and Missile Systems Center’s Space Development and Test Directorate, the Operationally Responsive Space Office and the 513th Military Intelligence Brigade for their dedication, innovation and ingenuity.

“There was no ‘playbook’ for fielding this kind of capability, nor for the way we fielded it” said Lt. Col. Winston Campbell, SMC/SD space execution branch chief. “Despite a fair amount of uncertainty from outside agencies all the way up until we delivered our first images, unwavering support from senior leadership allowed our talented people to accomplish the mission.”

Launched in June 2011, ORS-1 differs from traditional satellite systems in several ways, but its primary distinction stems from its birth. It took approximately three years to develop from concept to launch and orbit, compared to seven years or longer for traditional systems.

Its payload technology was gleaned from a camera first developed for use aboard U2 spy planes decades ago. Contractors attached a larger telescope to the Senior Year Electro-Optical Reconnaissance System-2 camera to give it adequate resolution from orbit.

“This program has continued to earn accolades, including the C4ISR Journal’s Top Five Sensors of 2011,” said Lt. Col. Mike Manor, 1 SOPS commander. “It also continues to exceed all performance expectations and this type of recognition is a direct result of the outstanding efforts of the entire ORS-1 team who developed, built and now operates the system.”

Team leaders have a few weeks to decide who will make the trip to Phoenix to receive the award. With so many units involved, organizers could have trouble finding enough space on stage.

In the meantime, ORS-1 will continue providing space effects to combatant commanders.

“Going forward, I’m extremely pleased with the continuing relationship between 1 SOPS and SMC/SD,” Campbell said. “Together, we keep pushing to provide the most warfighter capability by optimizing ORS-1 performance.”

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