Monday, June 25, 2007

TASCOMM Net Confirmed

While I have commented publicly on the UDXF newsgroup about my suspicions on the true identity of the widely reported UK XSS HF ALE net, I pretty much let those in Europe set the agenda regarding what this net should be called - UK DHFCS or TASCOMM?

Wellt that is now going to change. Thanks to a new intercept posted by my old friend Ary Boender to the UDXF group last week, I think the more accurate tag for this net is the UK TASCOMM HF ALE network. Based on the intercept and a report I posted on these pages last summer, I am convinced that the UK DHFCS net is not a correct identifier and does not tell the whole story. I support this conclusion with information presented in a press release at

This whole XSS-US DHFCS-TASCOMM discussion reminds me of an argument I had several years ago on an internet newsgroups with a hardhead on whether the US JCS network should be called the Scope Command Network or HF-GCS (then GHFS). Official publications eventually showed that I was right in that discussion. It was the HF-GCS network (then GHFS) and not the Scope Command Network.

The operable paragraph that pins this TASCOMM tag for me from the VT press release at the link above is:

"Under DHFCS, Terrestrial Air Sea Communications (TASCOMM) is available for use by RN, RAF and the Army. TASCOMM is a ground-air-ground, ship-shore and ground-to-ground HF radio communications service designed for NATO and National use. Previously known as STCICS, TASCOMM has its control centre at the NCS at Forest Moor with an alternative network control centre (ANCS) located at RAF Kinloss. Both the NCS and ANCS will control, transmit and receive assets around the world to provide an efficient and responsive service to the users. Combined with the introduction of new RAF and RN platform HF communications equipment supplied under separate contracts, DHFCS will take full advantage of the modern high-speed waveforms to provide rapid data throughput, eventually including HF email. ALE, ARQ and ALM techniques both simplify and speed up the process of establishing HF communication channels."

And now the intercept that Ary posted for Michael, DH5FAU in Germany:

"On June 20st at 1208 Z I logged an unusual message on the british XSS-Net on 9019,0. XSS was calling UKE307 then:

[AMD]XSS [THIS IS TASCOM ARE YOU RECEIVING MY TEXTS?]> I think that we now know who XSS is. XSS=TASCOM!!!"

In fact, XSS is the net control station for this TASCOMM net, probably with the control head located at Forest Moor (transmitters, unknown???).

So to my readers of the MT Milcom blog, in future posting I will be reporting to this and other venues the ID of the XSS ALE stations/frequencies as the TASCOMM HF ALE network, not just as the UK DHFCS. Of course, if someone else who has better contacts than me wants to set the record completely straight, drop me a note privately at the email in the masthead. But for right now, I think this XSS bunch is operating on the UK TASCOMM ALE Network.

BTW the August issue of MT has a complete writeup on freqs, addresses, etc on this net by my MT colleague, Hugh Stegman in his Ute World column. So I won't bother to steal his thunder by posting all that stuff here on these pages. The August Monitoring Times has everything you need.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Fight Over Secret Satellite Program Is Revived

It appears that the Misty Stealth Recon Satellite program is on the chopping block again. Read the complete story by CQ Today staffer Tim Sparks at

Another interesting angle on this story on the blog at

And here on Arms Control (, a possible drawing of a Misty spacecraft?

It is believed there have been two spacecraft launched under the Misty program banner:

1990-019B 20516 AFP-731/Misty 1/SRS 2 USA 53 2/28/1990 0750 UTC ETR
STS-36 Shuttle Period-88.6 Inc-62.00 242 x 238 km orbit

1999-028A 25744 Misty 2/NRO-8x/EIS-1 USA 144 5/22/1999 0936 UTC WTR SLC4E
Titan 404B Period-148.4 Inc-63.40 3133 x 2688 km orbit. Note: This Titan used 50 foot fairing instead of 66 foot fairing used for Lacrosse radar imaging satellites.

More on this as we have it.

Military Satellite Launch Manifest Update

Here is the latest US Military Satellite Manifest courtesy of Steven S. Pietrobon at Small World Communications, in Payneham South SA, Australia. Source:

USA Date Launch Vehicle

- 9 Mar 07 Atlas V401 (AV-013)
STPSat 1, Orbital Express
1, CFESat, Falconsat 3,
MidSTAR 1, MEPSI Picosat (2)
* - 20 Mar 07 Falcon I F2
- 24 Apr 07 Minotaur I F7
NFIRE (Near-Field Infrared
194 15 Jun 07 Atlas V401 (AV-009)
NROL-30R (Ocean Surveillance)
Jun 07 Delta IVM
Jul 07 Delta II (732X)
1 Aug 07 Minotaur I
10 Aug 07 Atlas V421 (AV-011)
Sep 07 Delta IVH/4050H
Sep 07 Falcon I
TacSat 1, [Celestis 05]
Sep 07 Delta II (7925)
24 Oct 07 Atlas V401
Oct 07 Delta IVM
8 Nov 07 Delta II
Block 2010 Spacecraft
Risk Reduction
25 Nov 07 Delta II
STSS 1, STSS 2 (Block 2006)
Nov 07 Atlas V521
Nov 07 Delta II (7925)
Dec 07 Minotaur I
TacSat 3
Dec 07 Delta IVH
Dec 07 Atlas V411 (AV-006)
Dec 07 Delta II
Dec 07 Atlas V401
SBIRS-High F-1
07 Atlas V521
07 Delta II (732X)
Jan 08 Delta II
Jan 08 TBD
MPE (Multiple Payload Ejector)
# Feb 08 Delta IVM
# Apr 08 Delta II
# Apr 08 Falcon IX
US Government
# Apr 08 Minotaur IV
TacSat 4
Apr 08 Atlas V501
Apr 08 Atlas V531
Apr 08 Atlas V401
DMSP-5D3 F18
18 Jun 08 Pegasus XL
Dec 08 Minotaur IV
08 Atlas V401
08 Atlas V401
08 Atlas V401
08 Delta IVM
08 Atlas V401
08 Atlas V401
09 Atlas V401
09 Atlas V401
09 Delta IVM
10 Delta IVM
10 Delta IVM+(4,2)
Minotaur MightySat-II.2
Atlas V501 NROL-41
Atlas V501 NROL-45
* Launch failure
- No USA number assigned
# Change since beginning of month
AEHF Advanced Extreme High Frequency
ASTRO Autonomous Space Transporter and
Robotic Orbiter
CFESat Cibola Flight Experiment Satellite
C/NOFS Communication/Navigation Outage
Forecasting System
DMSP Defense Meteorological Satellite Program
GPS Global Positioning System
MDA-DST Missile Defense Agency Direct to
Satellite Telemetry
METOC Naval Meteorological and Oceanography
MLV Medium Launch Vehicle
NEXTSat-CSC Next Generation Satellite and
Commodities Spacecraft
NROL National Reconnaissance Office Launch
SBIRS-H Space Based Infra Red Sensor -
High Altitude
SBSS Space Based Surveillance System
STPSat Space Test Program Satellite
STSS Space Tracking and Surveillance System
SVN Space Vehicle Number
WGS Wideband Gapfiller Satellite
XSS Experimental Satellite System

The dates listed are those for GMT. All information was obtained from public sources. If anyone can fill in the question marks or provide corrections which is public knowledge please let me know. Square brackets indicate secondary non-military payloads.

Steven S. Pietrobon, Small World Communications, 6 First Avenue, Payneham South SA 5070, Australia fax +61 8 8332 3177

Thursday, June 21, 2007

USNO Block II GPS Satellite Information

Information below courtesy if the US Naval Observatory. This is an update to some material that I have published previously on the GPS constellation in my Monitoring Times Milcom column. I will be doing additional updates as time permits on other military satellite constellations in future post to this blog.

Blog Note: You can get the current status of the GPS Satellite Constellation by going to the USNO ftp site at

The operational GPS satellites are designated BLOCK II, BLOCK IIA, BLOCK IIR and BLOCK IIR-M.

The BLOCK II satellites, space vehicle numbers (SVN) 13 through 21, are the first full scale operational satellites developed by Rockwell International. Block II satellites were designed to provide 14 days of operation without contact from the Control Segment (CS). The Block IIs were launched from February 1989 through October 1990.

The BLOCK IIA satellites, SVNs 22 through 40, are the second series of operational satellites, also developed by Rockwell International. Block IIA satellites were designed to provide 180 days of operation without contact from the CS. During the 180 day autonomy, degraded accuracy will be evident in the navigation message. The Block IIAs were launched November 1990 through November 1997.

The design life of the Block II/IIA satellite is 7.3 years; each contain four atomic clocks: two Cesium (Cs) and two Rubidium (Rb); and have the Selective Availabity (SA) and Anti-Spoof (A-S) capabilities. The Block II/IIA satellites were launched from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida, aboard the Delta II medium launch vehicle (MLV).

The BLOCK IIR satellites, SVNs 41 through 62, are the operational replenishment satellites developed by Lockheed Martin and will carry the GPS well into the next century. Block IIR satellites are designed to provide at least 14 days of operation without contact from the CS and up to 180 days of operation when operating in the autonomous navigation (AUTONAV) mode. Full accuracy will be maintained using a technique of ranging and communication between the Block IIR satellites. The cross-link ranging will be used to estimate and update the parameters in the navigation message of each Block IIR satellite without contact from the CS. The design life of the Block IIR satellite is 7.8 years; each contains three Rb atomic clocks and have the SA and A-S capabilities. Launching of the Block IIRs began in January 1997.

GPS IIR-16M (SVN58/SVN12) was launched on 17 Nov 2006 at 1912 UT from Cape Canaveral, Florida.


*II-1 14 14 FEB 1989 19802
*II-2 13 10 JUN 1989 20061
*II-3 16 18 AUG 1989 20185
*II-4 19 21 OCT 1989 20302
*II-5 17 11 DEC 1989 20361
*II-6 18 24 JAN 1990 20452
*II-7 20 26 MAR 1990 20533
*II-8 21 02 AUG 1990 20724
*II-9 15 01 OCT 1990 20830
*IIA-10 23 26 NOV 1990 20959
IIA-11 24 24 04 JUL 1991 Cs D6 21552
IIA-12 25 25 23 FEB 1992 Rb A5 21890
*IIA-13 28 10 APR 1992 21930
IIA-14 26 26 07 JUL 1992 Rb F2 22014
IIA-15 27 27 09 SEP 1992 Cs A4 22108
IIA-16 01 32 22 NOV 1992 Cs F6 22231
*IIA-17 29 29 18 DEC 1992 Rb F5 22275
*IIA-18 22 03 FEB 1993 22446
*IIA-19 31 30 MAR 1993 22581
IIA-20 07 37 13 MAY 1993 Rb C5 22657
IIA-21 09 39 26 JUN 1993 Rb A1 22700
IIA-22 05 35 30 AUG 1993 Rb B4 22779
IIA-23 04 34 26 OCT 1993 Rb D4 22877
IIA-24 06 36 10 MAR 1994 Rb C1 23027
IIA-25 03 33 28 MAR 1996 Rb C2 23833
IIA-26 10 40 16 JUL 1996 Cs E3 23953
IIA-27 30 30 12 SEP 1996 Cs B2 24320
IIA-28 08 38 06 NOV 1997 Cs A3 25030
***IIR-1 42 17 JAN 1997
IIR-2 13 43 23 JUL 1997 Rb F3 24876
IIR-3 11 46 07 OCT 1999 Rb D2 25933
IIR-4 20 51 11 MAY 2000 Rb E1 26360
IIR-5 28 44 16 JUL 2000 Rb B3 26407
IIR-6 14 41 10 NOV 2000 Rb F1 26605
IIR-7 18 54 30 JAN 2001 Rb E4 26690
IIR-8 16 56 29 JAN 2003 Rb B1 27663
IIR-9 21 45 31 MAR 2003 Rb D3 27704
IIR-10 22 47 21 DEC 2003 Rb E2 28129
IIR-11 19 59 20 MAR 2004 Rb C3 28190
IIR-12 23 60 23 JUN 2004 Rb F4 28361
IIR-13 02 61 06 NOV 2004 Rb D1 28474
IIR-14M 17 53 26 SEP 2005 Rb C4 28874
IIR-15M 31 52 25 SEP 2006 Rb A2 29486
IIR-16M 12 58 17 NOV 2006 Rb B5 29601

* Satellite is no longer in service.
** US SPACE COMMAND, previously known as the NORAD object number; also referred to as the NASA Catalog number. Assigned atsuccessful launch.
*** Unsuccessful launch.

13/02 Launched 10 JUN 1989; usable 10 AUG 1989; decommissioned 12 MAY 2004. Set unusable 22 Feb 2004 at 1037 UT (NANU 2004025). Decommissioned from active service 12 MAY 2004 at 1701 UT.

14/14 Launched 14 FEB 1989; usable 15 APR 1989; decommissioned 14 APR 2000. Unusable 29 AUG 1992 2030 UT to 01 SEP 1992 1425 UT due to the failure of its operational frequency standard and change to its second Cs frequency standard. Unusable 26 JAN 2000 0130 UT to 03 FEB 2000 1816 UT due to change in operational frequency standard from Cs to Rb. Set unusable 26 MAR 2000 at 2348 UT. Decommissioned from active service 14 APR 2000 at 1347 UT.

15/15 Launched 01 OCT 1990; usable 15 OCT 1990; decommissioned 15 MAR 2007. Unusable 10 NOV 1992 1604 UT to 13 NOV 1992 1910 UT due to change in operational Cs frequency standards. Set as a test vehicle on 17 NOV 2006. Decommissioned from active service 14 MAR 2007.

16/16 Launched 18 AUG 1989; usable 14 OCT 1989; decommissioned 13 OCT 2000. Unusable 07 JAN 1991 1200 UT to 09 JAN 1991 1639 UT due to change in operational frequency standard from Rb to Cs. Unusable 06 FEB 1996 0556 UT to 21 FEB 1996 1648 UT due to change in operational Cs frequency standards. Unusable 04 MAR 2000 0955 UT to 07 APR 2000 2112 UT due to change in operational frequency standard from Cs to Rb. Decommissioned from active service 13 Oct 2000 at 0045 UT.

17/17 Launched 11 DEC 1989; usable 06 JAN 1990; decommissioned 23 FEB 2005. Unusable 06 APR 2001 1848 UT to 16 APR 2001 2253 UT due to change in operational frequency standard from Cs to Rb. Unusable 07 OCT 2002 0110 UT to 15 OCT 2002 1626 UT due to change in operational frequency standard from Rb to Cs. Unusable 26 JUN 2003 1942 UT to 22 JUL 2003 1600 UT due to change in operational frequency standard from Cs to Rb. Decommissioned from active service 23 Feb 2005 at 2200 UT.

18/18 Launched 24 JAN 1990; usable 14 FEB 1990; decommissioned 18 AUG 2000. Unusable 07 MAY 1996 0406 UT to 09 MAY 1996 1737 UT due to change in operational Cs frequency standards. Decommissioned from active service 18 Aug 2000 at 0742 UT.

19/19 Launched 21 OCT 1989; usable 23 NOV 1989; decommissioned 11 SEP 2001. Unusable 16 OCT 1994 0545 UT to 19 OCT 1994 1354 UT due to change in operational frequency standard from Cs to Rb. The course acquisition (C/A) code deficiency problem on PRN19 was corrected effective 04 JAN 1994 at 0000 UT; performance no longer degraded. Unusable 30 DEC 1994 0536 UT to 04 JAN 1995 1740 UT due to change in operational Rb frequency standards. Unusable 22 SEP 1999 1715 UT to 04 OCT 1999 1727 UT due to change in operational frequency standard from Rb to Cs. Unusable beginning 16 MAR 2001 at 0126 UT and will remain unusable until further notice. Decommissioned from active service 11 SEP 2001 at 2200 UT.

20/20 Launched 26 MAR 1990; usable 18 APR 1990; decommissioned 13 DEC 1996. Unusable 06 AUG 1994 0000 UT to 17 AUG 1994 1908 UT due to change in operational frequency standard from Cs to Rb. Unusable 13 JAN 1996 0937 to 1355 UT due to change in operational frequency standard from Rb to Cs. Set unusable 21 MAY 1996 at 2242 UT and will not return to service. Boosted out of the GPS constellation 13 Dec 1996.

21/21 Launched 02 AUG 1990; usable 22 AUG 1990; decommissioned 27 JAN 2003. Unusable 07 OCT 1996 1430 UT to 10 OCT 1996 2152 UT due to change in operational Cs frequency standards. Set unusable 25 SEP 2002 at 1830 UT and decommissioned from active service 27 JAN 03 at 2200 UT.

22/22 Launched 03 FEB 1993; usable 04 APR 1993; decommissioned 06 AUG 2003. Unusable 07 OCT 1998 1102 UT to 14 OCT 1998 2229 UT due to change in operational frequency standard from Cs to Rb. Unusable 28 JUL 2001 2358 UT to 11 AUG 2001 0413 UT due to change in operational Rb frequency standards. Unusable 05 NOV 2002 1756 UT to 18 NOV 2002 1403 UT due to change in operational frequency standard from Rb to Cs. Set unusable 03 DEC 2002 at 1402 UT and decomissioned from active service 06 AUG 2003 at 2200 UT.

23/23 Launched 26 NOV 1990; usable 10 DEC 1990; decommissioned 13 FEB 2004. Unusable 04 JAN 1991 1600 UT to 06 JAN 1991 2049 UT due to change in operational Cs frequency standards. Unusable 13 NOV 2003 0121 UT to 25 NOV 2003 2104 UT due to change in operational frequency standard from Cs to Rb. Set unusable 05 FEB 2004 at 2030 UT and decommissioned from active service 13 FEB 2004 at 2200 UT. An initial assessment period for SVN23 utilizing PRN32 was accomplished 01 DEC to 06 DEC 2006; SVN23 is no longer transmitting L-band. During this assessment period SVN23 was broadcasting L-band and set unhealthy. SVN23 was not included in the operational constellation almanac.

24/24 Launched 04 JUL 1991; usable 30 AUG 1991; Operates on Cs std.
Unusable 23 JAN 1994 1745 UT to 01 FEB 1994 1516 UT due to change in operational frequency standard from Cs to Rb. Unusable 01 JUL 1995 0750 UT to 07 JUL 1995 2223 UT due to change in operational Rb frequency standards. Unusable 07 SEP 2000 1742 UT to 11 SEP 2000 2020 UT due to change in operational frequency standard from Rb to Cs.

25/25 Launched 23 FEB 1992; usable 24 MAR 1992; Operates on Rb std. Unusable 01 DEC 1993 1904 UT to 05 DEC 1993 1941 UT due to change in operational frequency standard from Rb to Cs on 02 DEC 1993. Unusable 07 JAN 1995 1938 UT to 12 JAN 1995 1821 UT due to change in operational Cs frequency standards. Unusable 22 Mar 2006 0149 UT to 28 Mar 2006 0144 UT due to change in operational frequency standard from Cs to Rb.

26/26 Launched 07 JUL 1992; usable 23 JUL 1992; Operates on Rb std. Unusable 10 Mar 1998 1541 UT to 16 Mar 1998 1818 UT due to change in operational frequency standard from Cs to Rb.

27/27 Launched 09 SEP 1992; usable 30 SEP 1992; Operates on Cs std. Unusable 10 Jun 2002 1516 UT to 20 Jun 2002 1402 UT due to change in operational frequency standard from Cs to Rb. Unusable 14 MAY 2005 1955 UT to 31 MAY 2005 1749 UT due to change in operational frequency standard from Rb to Cs.

28/28 Launched 10 APR 1992; usable 25 APR 1992; decommissioned 15 AUG 1997. Unusable beginning 04 NOV 1996 1634 UT and will remain unusable until further notice (NANU 179-96309). Removed from broadcast almanac of all GPS satellites 15 AUG 1997.

29/29 Launched 18 DEC 1992; usable 05 JAN 1993; Operates on Rb std.
Unusable 21 MAY 1997 1504 UT to 31 MAY 1997 0355 UT due to change in operational frequency standard from Cs to Rb.

30/30 Launched 12 SEP 1996; usable 01 OCT 1996; Operates on Cs std. Unusable 29 Aug 2001 2102 UT to 04 Sep 2001 2055 UT due to change in operational frequency standard from Cs to Rb. Unusable 02 JUN 2006 to 07 JUN 2006 due to change in operational frequency standard from Rb to Cs.

31/31 Launched 30 MAR 1993; usable 13 APR 1993; decommissioned 24 OCT 2005. Unusable 17 JAN 1995 1705 UT to 25 JAN 1995 2013 UT due to change in operational frequency standard from Cs to Rb on 18 JAN 1995. The MCS and P-code users experienced intermittent lock on the L2 navigation signal of PRN31 from 13 Apr 1993 2053 UT to 16 Jun 1993 0824 UT. Since corrective maintenance was performed on 16 Jun 1993, the MCS has not experienced lock problems on PRN31's L2 navigation signal. Change in operational frequency standard from Rb to Cs on 23 JUL 1997. Unusable 15 APR 2002 1431 UT to 23 APR 2002 2018 UT due to change in operational frequency standard from Cs to Rb. Unusable 28 DEC 2004 0042 UT to 04 APR 2005 0913 UT, during the outage a change in operational frequency standard from Rb to Cs.

32/01 Launched 22 NOV 1992; usable 11 DEC 1992; Operates on Cs std. Unusable 28 JAN 1993 2000 to 2200 UT for maintenance and changed the Pseudo Range Number (PRN) from 32 to 01. Unusable 03 MAY 1995 0604 UT to 12 MAY 1995 1528 UT due to change in operational frequency standard from Cs to Rb. Unusable 16 AUG 1996 1655 UT to 22 AUG 1996 1620 UT due to change in operational frequency standard from Rb to Cs.

33/03 Launched 28 MAR 1996; usable 09 APR 1996; Operates on Rb std. Unusable 18 JUN 2006 to 29 JUN 2006 due to change in operational frequency standard from Cs to Rb.

34/04 Launched 26 OCT 1993; usable 22 NOV 1993; Operates on Rb std. Unusable 13 Sep 1998 1728 UT to 21 Sep 1998 2214 UT due to change in operational frequency standard from Cs to Rb.

35/05 Launched 30 AUG 1993; usable 28 SEP 1993; Operates on Rb std. Unusable 02 Jun 2003 1518 UT to 09 Jun 2003 1417 UT due to change in operational frequency standard from Cs to Rb. Unusable 26 Sep 2003 0745 UT to 14 Oct 2003 1633 UT due to change in operational frequency standard from Rb to Cs. Unusable 08 SEP 2005 0032 UT to 16 SEP 2005 1945 UT due to change in operational frequency standard from Cs to Rb.

36/06 Launched 10 MAR 1994; usable 28 MAR 1994; Operates on Rb std. Unusable 27 Apr 1995 1447 UT to 03 May 1995 0541 UT due to change in operational frequency standard from Rb to Cs. Unusable 17 Mar 2004 1531 UT to 29 Mar 2004 1558 UT due to change in operational frequency standard from Cs to Rb.

37/07 Launched 13 MAY 1993; usable 12 JUN 1993; Operates on Rb std. Unusable 20 Apr 1999 0437 UT to 26 Apr 1999 1533 UT due to change in operational frequency standard from Cs to Rb. Unusable 30 MAR 1994 0730 UT to 04 APR 1994 1330 UT due to change in operational Cs frequency standards. Unusable 20 Apr 1999 0437 UT to 26 Apr 1999 1533 UT due to change in operational frequency standard from Cs to Rb.

38/08 Launched 06 NOV 1997; usable 18 DEC 1997; Operates on Cs std. Unusable 05 May 2004 0906 UT to 18 May 2004 0142 UT due to change in operational frequency standard from Rb to Cs.

39/09 Launched 26 JUN 1993; usable 21 JUL 1993; Operates on Rb std. Unusable 15 Oct 1993 1200 UT to 07 Dec 1993 1940 UT due to testing.

40/10 Launched 16 JUL 1996; usable 15 AUG 1996; Operates on Cs std. Unusable 28 Nov 1996 2018 UT to 01 Dec 1996 2325 UT due to change in operational frequency standard from Rb to Cs.

41/14 Launched 10 NOV 2000; usable 10 Dec 2000; Operates on Rb std

43/13 Launched 23 JUL 1997; usable 31 Jan 1998; Operates on Rb std

44/28 Launched 16 JUL 2000; usable 17 Aug 2000; Operates on Rb std

45/21 Launched 31 MAR 2003; usable 12 Apr 2003; Operates on Rb std

46/11 Launched 07 OCT 1999; usable 03 Jan 2000; Operates on Rb std

47/22 Launched 21 DEC 2003; usable 12 Jan 2004; Operates on Rb std

51/20 Launched 11 MAY 2000; usable 01 Jun 2000; Operates on Rb std

52/31 Launched 25 SEP 2006; usable 12 OCT 2006; Operates on Rb std

53/17 Launched 26 SEP 2005; usable 16 Dec 2005; Operates on Rb std

54/18 Launched 30 JAN 2001; usable 15 Feb 2001; Operates on Rb std

56/16 Launched 29 JAN 2003; usable 19 Feb 2003; Operates on Rb std

58/12 Launched 17 NOV 2006; usable 13 Dec 2006; Operates on Rb std

59/19 Launched 20 MAR 2004; usable 05 Apr 2004; Operates on Rb std

60/23 Launched 23 JUN 2004; usable 09 Jul 2004; Operates on Rb std

61/02 Launched 06 JUN 2004; usable 22 Nov 2004; Operates on Rb std

The backup cesiums on-board each Block II/IIA satellite require periodic, approximately twice per year, pumping of the beam tube to maintain working order. This maintenance requires, on average, 18 hours of unusable time for each satellite.

Once per year each satellite requires a stationkeeping maneuver, also referred to as repositioning or Delta-V, to move the satellite back to its original orbital position. The satellites have a tendency to "drift" from their assigned orbital positions, one reason being the earth's gravitational pull. These maneuvers require, on average, 12 hours of unusable time for each satellite.

The current GPS constellation consists of 30 Block II/IIA/IIR/IIR-M satellites. The first operational, Block II, satellite was launched in February 1989.
File gpsb2.txt
Last updated: Wed Mar 14 13:28:51 UTC 2007

USNO Block I GPS Satellite Information

Information below courtesy of the US Naval Observatory.

The satellite vehicle numbers (SVN) 1 through 11 are designated as Block I. The Block I satellites were launched from 1978 to 1985 at Vandenberg AFB, California using the Atlas E/F. Block I are referred to as the original concept validation satellites developed by Rockwell International and reflect various stages of system development.

The Block I satellites operated in circular 10,900 nm orbits, with a 12-hour period, the same as the Block II satellites. The Block I satellites are/were positioned in the same orbital planes as the Block II, but at an inclination angle of 63 degrees. Each Block I satellite contained one cesium and two rubidium atomic clocks. The
design life of the Block I satellites was 5 years, but a majority performed well beyond their life expectancy.


*01 04 22 FEB 78 10684
*02 07 13 MAY 78 10893
*03 06 06 OCT 78 11054
*04 08 10 DEC 78 11141
*05 05 09 FEB 80 11690
*06 09 26 APR 80 11783
*07 NONE
*08 11 14 JUL 83 14189
*09 13 13 JUN 84 15039
*10 12 08 SEP 84 15271
*11 03 09 OCT 85 16129

* Satellite is no longer in service.
** US Space Command, previously known as the NORAD Object No.; also referred
to as the NASA catalog number.


SVN01/PRN04 Launched 22 FEB 78; usable 29 MAR 78; no longer in service. Last onboard frequency standard failed 17 Jul 85, 1730 UT.

SVN02/PRN07 Launched 13 May 78; usable 14 JUL 78; no longer in service. L1 signal power permanently turned off in week 8-12 FEB 88.

SVN03/PRN06 Launched 06 OCT 78; usable 13 NOV 78; no longer in service. Operations terminated 18 MAY 92 at 2341 UT.

SVN04/PRN08 Launched 10 DEC 78; usable 08 JAN 79; no longer in service. Crystal oscillator activated 27 OCT 86, 2105 UT. L-band permanently turned off on 14 OCT 89, 1857 UT. L-band enabled 20 FEB 90 1615 UT for testing; disabled sometime in MAY 1990.

SVN05/PRN05 Launched 09 FEB 80; usable 27 FEB 80; no longer in service. Turned off 11 MAY 84.

SVN06/PRN09 Launched 26 APR 80; usable 16 MAY 80; no longer in service. Operations terminated 06 MAR 91, 0342 UT.

SVN07 Unsuccessful launch 18 DEC 81

SVN08/PRN11 Launched 14 JUL 83; usable 10 AUG 83; no longer in service. Changed operational frequency std from Cs to Rb 4 APR 92. Changed operational frequency std to its last usable Rb between 29 Sep 92 1943 UT to 6 Oct 92 1430 UT.Set unusable 04 MAY 93 at 0020 UT and will not return to service.

SVN09/PRN13 Launched 13 JUN 84; usable 19 JUL 84; no longer in service. Changed operational frequency std from Cs to Rb during period 30 Sep 93 to 09 Oct 93. Unusable 4 Nov 93 1640 UT to 13 Dec 93 2130 UT for maintenance. Unusable beginning 28 Feb 94 1345 UT due to end of life testing; PRN13 was boosted to a higher orbit for disposal on 20 Jun 94 at 1817 UT

SVN10/PRN12 Launched 08 SEP 84; usable 03 OCT 84; no longer in service. Changed operational frequency std from Cs to Rb 6 FEB 92. Unusable beginning 18 Nov 95 1845 UT due to end of life testing; PRN12 was boosted to a higher orbit for disposal on 26 Mar 96 (NANUs 242-95325, 051-96086).

SVN11/PRN03 Launched 09 OCT 85; usable 30 OCT 85; no longer in service. Set unusable since 27 Feb 94 0233 UT and permanently set unusable 13 Apr 94 1500 UT due to navigation payload shutdown in preparation for final disposal. PRN03 was thrust out of orbit 14 Apr 94 2100 UT.


1. Reconfiguration of Block I satellites to a five-vehicle constellation that optimized continental US system performance occurred October 29, 1986 to October 22, 1987 with the repositioning of PRN03/SVN11 to another in-plane location.

2. Reconfiguration of the GPS constellation to increase two-dimensional(2-D) and three-dimensional (3-D) capabilities occurred March 15, 1990 to December 20, 1990. The Block I satellites involved in the maneuver were: PRNs 3 and 11. The Block II satellites involved in the maneuver were: PRNs 2, 14, 16, 18 and 19.
File gpsb1.txt
last updated: Fri Apr 12 23:05:00 UTC 1996

Air Force Supports International Paris Air Show

by Airman 1st Class Marc Lane, 435th Air Base Wing Public Affairs

6/20/2007 - PARIS (AFPN) -- Hundreds of flight enthusiasts flooded the Le Bourget Airport to attend the opening of the 47th International Paris Air Show.

This year's air show, boasting more than 2,000 exhibits from 42 countries, opened to trade visitors June 18 and the general public can visit from June 22-24.

With planes all around and in the sky, every direction holds something appealing.

A range of U.S. aircraft and approximately 70 aircrews from bases in Europe and stateside have flown to Paris to participate in this event. Air Force and Navy members created a display of the finest and most functional aircraft they have to offer to showcase the equipment necessary for present and upcoming military operation successes.

The Air Force also has an exhibit honoring its 60th anniversary. The aim of the exhibit is to highlight several of the significant achievements made by the Air Force over the past sixty years.

"Our mission has three parts," said Master Sgt. John Carter, the superintendent of the Air Force 60th Anniversary Task Force.

"First, to commemorate 60 years of heritage, second, educate the public and our allies of what we bring to the mission, and third to appreciate our partnerships with our allies," he said.

Barksdale bombers to fly in Koa Lightning

ANDERSEN AIR FORCE BASE, Guam (AFPN) -- Four B-52 Stratofortress aircraft and aircrew from the 20th Expeditionary Bomb Squadron deployed here from Barksdale Air Force Base, La., are scheduled to fly to Hawaii and back this week to participate in the latest Koa Lightning exercise.

The B-52s will fly more than 18 hours and 6,880 nautical miles non-stop to Hawaii and back while taking on more than 180,000 pounds of fuel during the flight mission.

The Pacific Command's Koa Lightning exercise will consist of air to air intercept training with F-15 Eagles based at Hickam AFB, Hawaii. The bomb squadron will have an opportunity to work with a wide variety of units and aircraft from the other branches of the U.S. military that will provide challenging scenarios designed to hone their combat edge thus enhancing the capability of providing the U.S. Pacific commander a continuous bomber presence to deter and dissuade any potential aggressor in the Pacific region.

During some of the missions, a single group of fighter aircraft will practice escorting the B-52s while another group of aircraft will practice intercepting the incoming bombers.

The continuous bomber presence at Andersen AFB is aimed at enhancing regional security, demonstrating U.S. commitment to the Pacific region, and providing integrated training opportunities for deployed Airmen. Besides bolstering security, the rotational deployment increases training opportunities that thoroughly integrate B-52 bomber operations into PACOM's joint and coalition exercises from forward bases such as Andersen, officials said.

Air Guard retires last F-16A in service

by Capt. Gabe Johnson, 162nd Fighter Wing Public Affairs

TUCSON AIR NATIONAL GUARD BASE, Ariz. (AFPN) -- The last operational F-16A Fighting Falcon flew its final mission here June 15, taking off from the Air National Guard base for indefinite storage at the Aerospace Maintenance and Regeneration Group at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Ariz.

The 162nd Fighter Wing, having flown the A and B models since taking on the F-16 training mission in 1985, retired its one remaining F-16A and two F-16B model aircraft, completing its conversion to the more modern F-16C and F-16D.

"As one of the world's premier F-16 training units, we must stay relevant," said Brig. Gen. Rick Moisio, 162nd Fighter Wing commander. "We constantly transition to newer, more advanced aircraft because that's what pilots will fly when they graduate from our program."

"The F-16 is currently the most popular fighter in the world," he said, "and we've trained pilots from 22 of 24 countries that fly the aircraft today."

Over the last 22 years, the wing trained 1,640 U.S. and allied pilots in the F-16A/B alone.

The retirement marks the end of an era and finalizes the Air Guard's seamless transition to the newer aircraft, said Col. Greg Stroud, 162nd Maintenance Group commander and F-16 pilot.

"Some of our maintenance crew chiefs have known these planes for more than 20 years," said the colonel. "They were built in '82 and '83. Imagine owning a car that long. It's a real testament to the expertise and hard work of countless Air Guardsmen, active and retired, who kept these planes in great condition."

"Our instructor pilots and our maintainers have undergone the necessary upgrade training for the F-16C and D and will continue to provide the best training and the safest aircraft available."

The F-16A, a single-seat model, first flew in December 1976. The first operational F-16A was delivered in January 1979 to the 388th Tactical Fighter Wing at Hill Air Force Base, Utah.

Improvement programs throughout the years led to the F-16C and F-16D aircraft, which are the single- and two-seat counterparts to the F-16A and F-16B, and incorporate the latest cockpit control and display technology. All active duty units and most Air National Guard and Air Force Reserve units converted to the F-16C and D years ago.

Since Sept. 11, 2001, the F-16 has been a major component of the combat forces committed to the war on terrorism flying thousands of sorties in support of operations Noble Eagle, Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan and Iraqi Freedom.

The F-16 Fighting Falcon is a compact, multi-role fighter aircraft. It is highly maneuverable and has proven itself in air-to-air combat and air-to-surface attack. It provides a relatively low-cost, high-performance weapon system for the United States and allied nations.

The last time the wing retired an aircraft model was in 1992 when the last A-7D Corsair II was delivered to AMARG.

USAFE fighter squadron deploys to Kunsan

by Staff Sgt. Alice Moore, 8th Fighter Wing Public Affairs

F-16 Fighting Falcons from the 555th Fighter Squadron from Aviano Air Base, Italy, arrive June 19 at Kunsan Air Base, South Korea. Airmen are here for a 120-day deployment. This is the first time a U.S. Air Forces in Europe fighter unit has deployed to a Pacific Air Force base. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Barry Loo)

KUNSAN AIR BASE, South Korea (AFPN) -- Airmen of the 555th Fighter Squadron from Aviano Air Base, Italy, reunited with the 8th Fighter Wing June 19 here after being away for years during the squadron's deployment to Kunsan AB.

The 555th FS has lineage to Kunsan AB dating back to 1966 when the 555th Tactical Fighter Squadron moved to Ubon AB, Thailand, to join the 8th Tactical Fighter Wing.

Approximately 300 Aviano AB Airmen and 18 F-16 Fighting Falcons arrived here marking the first U.S. Air Forces in Europe unit to deploy to a Pacific Air Forces unit as an air expeditionary force rotation for the next four months. The unit will fully integrate and be a part of the 8th FW.

"They will be integrating completely and totally with our base and our (Republic of Korea) allies flying training missions here," said Col. Preston Thompson, the 8th FW vice commander.

"We run regular deployments here because it's important for us to practice our ability to move our aircraft around the world," Colonel Thompson said. "It's also important for us to show our ROK allies that we have the ability to deploy planes here quickly if they ever had a need for us to do so. So it behooves us to train to that and bring planes in here every so often to practice that capability of rapidly deploying forces here if there were ever a need."

The colonel also discussed the benefits of training with the 555th FS Airmen.

"They will be flying normal training missions we fly every day to give our pilots a chance to train with the pilots from our squadrons in Europe and to give our ROK allies a chance to train with other pilots other than what we have here on the peninsula," he said. "It's a continual way for us to improve our relations and to improve our abilities as a joint force team effort."

Members of the 8th FW worked to ensure there were no problems for the arrival of the Aviano AB Airmen.

"It's definitely been a challenge for all of us to prepare for their arrival," said Staff Sgt. Omar Aguilar of the 8th Operations Support Squadron. "It's been a total team effort to get them here and we're glad to have them as part of the 8th Fighter Wing."

"I'm looking forward to a new experience. Usually when you deploy you start from scratch, but here you're actually a part of a wing that's already been established," said Senior Airman Amy Clunk of the 555th FS. "The main challenge I see is that it's a little bit of a cultural difference coming from Europe to Asia."

The deployment of these fighter aircraft into the Pacific Command theater signifies the United States' continued commitment to the regional stability and security in the region.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Training Air Wing 2 Marks 500,000th Training Hour

By Jon Gagne, Training Air Wing 2 Public Affairs

ATLANTIC OCEAN (June 8, 2007) - Personnel assigned to Training Air Wing (TRAWING) 2 perform a post flight inspection on one of the squadrons T-45 Goshawk aboard Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Harry S. Truman. Truman is currently underway conducting carrier qualifications in the Atlantic Ocean. U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Ricardo J. Reyes.

NAS KINGSVILLE, Texas (NNS) -- Training Air Wing (TW) 2 at Naval Air Station (NAS) Kingsville marked its 500,000th training hour in the T-45 Goshawk aircraft June 10.

Lt. Cmdr. Dave Anderson and student aviator Marine 1st Lt. Philip Buckhahn recorded the milestone during a return flight from Cecil Field in Jacksonville, Fla., where they had been conducting carrier qualifications off the Florida coast along with 30 other instructors and students from Training Air Wings 1, 2 and 24.

“The instructor pilots assigned to Training Air Wing 2 have the serious responsibility of shaping the future of naval aviation,” said TW-2 Commander Capt. Mike Warriner. “They rely on the T-45 Goshawk to train nearly 200 student naval aviators (SNA) that are assigned [here] for training at any one time and who represent the bright future of naval aviation."

Warriner went on to say that together, Training Air Wing 2 and the T-45 Goshawk have trained close to 3,000 naval aviators since 1992.

"Surpassing 500,000 flight hours is just the most recent of many milestones Training Air Wing 2 has accomplished during the 15-years the Goshawk has been used to train student naval aviators,” he said.

Anderson and Buckhahn flew "side-number-284" from Cecil Field in to NAS Kingsville, and logged the historic milestone along the flight route. Anderson, who is assigned to Training Squadron (VT) 21 as operations officer, is responsible for the robust training scheduling of the T-45 aircraft on a daily basis.

Buckhahn, a student aviator who is nearing the completion of nearly 13 months of training, is assigned to VT-22 and is the newest soft-winged Marine Corps aviator in the command. The two aviators were returning from Jacksonville having just completed carrier qualifications on board USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75).

When “side-number-284” came to a stop after landing at NAS Kingsville, the pair was greeted by a host of TW-2 personnel who congratulated them on their accomplishment. In addition to Warriner, the welcoming party included TW-2 Chief Staff Officer Cmdr. Tim Carr; VT-21 Executive Officer Cmdr. Bill Bulis; Boeing Aircraft Co. representative Dick Nelson; and multiple officers and family members of each command.

The occasion was marked by photographs and Nelson presenting each crew member with a commemorative Boeing T-45 Goshawk T-shirt to mark the occasion.

“The teamwork of man and machine is critical to Naval Aviation,” Warriner said. “The machine in Training Air Wing 2 is the T-45. The Goshawk is a remarkable airplane exceptionally well-suited to teaching the multiple and varied disciplines associated with carrier aviation.”

Introduced to TW-2 in 1992 as a replacement for the T-2C “Buckeye” and ultimately the TA-4J “Skyhawk,” the T-45 is a stable and highly capable aircraft with an enviable safety record. The Goshawk is part of the T-45A Total System (TS) developed by McDonnell Douglas, and later owned and led by the Boeing Aircraft Company. As a cost-effective aircraft and overall training system, the Goshawk represents a trailblazing initiative in support of the goals of the Naval Aviation Enterprise to deliver the right readiness…at the right cost now and in the future.

In 2004, TW-2 received its first T-45C “Charlie.” This variant of the Goshawk upgraded the analog instrumentation and legacy navigation of the T-45A. The T45 “Charlie” incorporates a digital cockpit with multi-function displays, GPS navigation, and a fully-functional heads-up display. It provides the Navy and Marine Corps with a technologically compatible training platform well-suited to transition new Naval aviators to sophisticated Navy and Marine Corps fleet aircraft. Training Air Wing 2 currently instructs in both variants of the T-45.

VT-21 was the first squadron in the Chief of Naval Air Training Command (CNATRA) to transition to the new T-45 Total System. The transition began in February 1992 and the first SNAs began training in the new system in January 1993. When introduced, the Total System concept represented the newest technologies and teaching techniques, and included state-of-the-art visual simulators, a computer classroom, and the best and newest training aircraft in the world. It still does. VT-22 transitioned to the T-45A Goshawk in September 1993.

USS John C. Stennis Returns to OEF Missions

By Lt. Nathan Christensen, USS John C. Stennis Public Affairs

USS JOHN C. STENNIS, At Sea (NNS) -- USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74) and embarked Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 9 returned to the North Arabian Sea June 14 following its third port visit in the Middle East.

Starting June 15, CVW-9 will conduct missions in support of Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF) and will provide close air-power support and reconnaissance to International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) troops on the ground in Afghanistan. ISAF is comprised of more than 35,000 troops, with contributions from 37 nations.

“We have met every operational commitment assigned to perfection and have maintained a level of operational readiness second to none,” said Stennis’ Commanding Officer, Capt. Brad Johanson. “Our support to the troops on the ground has made a decisive difference in the region.”

As a Combined Forces Air Component Command (CFACC) asset, CVW-9 integrates closely with multinational coalition forces to prevent and counter Taliban attacks. Carrier aircraft provide close air-power support and deliver ordnance on enemy positions designated by ground forces.

“CVW-9 will be providing a variety of effects, both kinetic and non-kinetic,” said Capt. Sterling Gilliam, commander, CVW-9. “We will be tasked with close air support, reconnaissance and other tactical missions while operating in support of OEF.”

Since arriving in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of operations, CVW-9 has flown over 9,000 hours and has provided more than 65,000 pounds of ordnance in support of coalition forces operating on the ground in Afghanistan and Iraq in approximately 200 engagements.

“Throughout our time here on station we have defeated time and time again the Taliban's efforts to launch significant offensive campaigns,” said Johanson.

“As we continue to support troops on the ground in Afghanistan we revalidate the importance of coalition forces in bringing stability and security to this critical region.”

Stennis and its strike group entered the Persian Gulf May 23, along with the USS Nimitz (CVN 68) Carrier Strike Group and the USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD 6) Expeditionary Strike Group.

While operating in the Arabian Gulf, the three strike groups performed Expeditionary Strike Force (ESF) training along with conducting missions in direct support of Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF).

It was the first time Stennis, Nimitz and Bonhomme Richard strike groups operated together in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of operations.

The ESF training demonstrated the importance of the strike groups’ ability to plan and conduct multi-task force operations as part of the U.S.’s long-standing commitment to maintaining maritime security and stability in the region.

Stennis left its homeport of Bremerton, Wash., Jan. 16 for a regularly scheduled deployment and began operating with coalition forces in 5th Fleet Feb. 19.

The John C. Stennis Carrier Strike Group (JCSSG) has provided direct support to coalition ground forces participating in OEF and OIF, as well as conducting maritime operations.

Maritime operations help set the conditions for security and stability in the maritime environment, as well as complement the counter-terrorism and security efforts of regional nations. These operations deny international terrorists the use of the maritime environment as a venue for attack or to transport personnel, weapons or other material.

The CVW-9 squadrons include the “Black Knights” of Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 154, “Blue Diamonds” of VFA 146, “Argonauts” of VFA 147, “Death Rattlers” of Marine Strike Fighter Squadron 323, “Yellow Jackets” of Electronic Attack Squadron 138, “Golden Hawks” of Carrier Airborne Early Warning Squadron 112, “Topcats” of Sea Control Squadron 31, “Eightballers” of Helicopter Anti-Submarine Squadron 8 and “Providers” of Fleet Logistics Support Squadron 30.

JCSSG includes Stennis, CVW-9, Destroyer Squadron 21, USS Antietam (CG 54), the guided-missile destroyers USS O’Kane (DDG 77) and USS Preble (DDG 88) and the fast combat-support ship USNS Bridge (T-AOE 10). More than 6,500 Sailors and Marines are assigned to JCSSG.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Boeing Satellite Launch Schedule

From the Boeing folks (current as of April 2007)

Satellite Model Owner Launch Date Launch Vehicle
1 WGS-F1 702 U.S. Air Force 2007 Atlas V
2 GOES O 601 NASA/NOAA 2007/DIO Delta IV
3 Spaceway F3 702 Hughes Network Systems TBD/DOG Ariane 5
4 Thuraya-D3 702 Geo-Mobile Thuraya Sat Telecom TBD/DIO Sea Launch
5 DIRECTV 10 702 DIRECTV, Inc. 2007/DOG Proton
6 DIRECTV 11 702 DIRECTV, Inc. TBD/DOG Sea Launch
7 DIRECTV 12 702 DIRECTV, Inc. Ground Spare TBD
8 WGS-F2 702 U.S. Air Force 2008 Atlas V
9 GPS IIF SV-1 GPS U.S. Air Force 2008 Atlas V
10 WGS F-3 702 U.S. Air Force 2008 Delta IV
11 GOES P 601 NASA/NOAA 2008/DIO Delta IV
12 GPS IIF SV-2 GPS U.S. Air Force 2009 Delta IV
13 GPS IIF SV-3 GPS U.S. Air Force 2009 Atlas V
14 GPS IIF SV-4 GPS U.S. Air Force 2009 Atlas V
15 GPS IIF SV-5 GPS U.S. Air Force 2009 Delta IV
16 MSV-1 702 Geo-Mobile Mobile Satellite Ventures 2009/DIO TBD
17 MSV-2 702 Geo-Mobile Mobile Satellite Ventures 2010/DIO TBD
18 GPS IIF SV-6 GPS U.S. Air Force 2010 Atlas V
19 GPS IIF SV-7 GPS U.S. Air Force 2010 Atlas V
20 GPS IIF SV-8 GPS U.S. Air Force 2010 Atlas V
21 WGS-F4 702 U.S. Air Force 2011 EELV
22 GPS IIF SV-9 GPS U.S. Air Force 2011 Delta IV
23 GPS IIF SV-10 GPS U.S. Air Force 2011 Delta IV
24 GPS IIF SV-11 GPS U.S. Air Force 2011 TBD
25 WGS F-5 702 U.S. Air Force 2012 EELV
26 GPS IIF SV-12 GPS U.S. Air Force 2012 TBD
27 WGS F-6 opt 702 U.S. Air Force 2013 EELV
28 MSV-SA opt 702 Mobile Satellite Ventures TBD TBD

DIO -- Delivery in Orbit
DOG -- Delivery on Ground

Testing Complete on First Wideband Global SATCOM Satellite

The Boeing Company has completed integration and test of the U.S. Air Force's first Wideband Global SATCOM (WGS) satellite, bringing its satellite communications services one step closer to the warfighter.

"One WGS satellite will provide more communications capacity than the entire Defense Satellite Communication System constellation that's currently on orbit," said Howard Chambers, vice president and general manager, Boeing Space and Intelligence Systems. "The spacecraft will be a game-changer for the U.S. government and will revolutionize wideband SATCOM capabilities for the warfighter."

According to Boeing the performance of the first WGS satellite during testing "has been excellent," and factory data suggests it will provide approximately 25 percent more communications capacity by the end of its 14-year mission life as a result of high performance margins within the communications payload.

Boeing is under contract for five WGS Block I and II spacecraft, with an option for a sixth. The first satellite has completed factory testing and rigorous mission assurance reviews, and is ready to ship to the launch site in Florida, where it will be launched on a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket this August. The spacecraft will be placed into an environmentally-controlled container and transported to Cape Canaveral Air Station in an Air Force C-5 aircraft.

WGS Mission
The Wideband Global SATCOM (WGS) satellites are the key elements of a new high-capacity system that will provide a quantum leap in communications capabilities for the warfighter.

WGS will support the DoD's warfighting information exchange requirements, enabling execution of tactical command and control, communications, and computers; intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (C4ISR); battle management; and combat support information. WGS will also augment the current Ka-band Global Broadcast Service (on UHF F/O satellites) by providing additional information broadcast capabilities.

Each WGS can route 2.1 to 3.6 Gbps of data -- providing more than 10 times the communications capacity of the predecessor DSCS III satellite. Using reconfigurable antennas and a digital channelizer, WGS also offers added flexibility to tailor coverage areas and to connect X-band and Ka-band users anywhere within the satellite field of view. The system provides tremendous operational flexibility and delivers the needed capacity, coverage, connectivity and control in support of demanding operational scenarios.

Boeing was awarded the WGS initial contract in January 2001 for the first three satellites plus the associated ground-based command and control elements. Integrated logistics, training, and sustaining engineering support are also provided by Boeing. The procuring agency is the U.S. Air Force Space Command's MILSATCOM Systems Wing at Los Angeles AFB, California.

The WGS space segment will initially consist of three geostationary satellites operating over Pacific, Indian and Atlantic regions. Under a Block II contract, a fourth and fifth satellite are being procured to meet the warfighter's evolving SATCOM bandwidth requirements. The Block II satellites will be similar to the three Block I satellites already in production and will add a radio frequency bypass capability designed to support airborne intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance platforms requiring ultra-high bandwidth and data rates demanded by unmanned aerial vehicles.

The first Wideband Global SATCOM satellite is scheduled for launch in Mid 2007 aboard an Atlas V Launch Vehicle. WGS will provide transformational capabilities supporting government objectives for the Transformational Communications Architecture in the next decade and beyond.

Boeing was awarded the WGS initial contract in January 2001 for the first three satellites plus the associated ground-based command and control elements. Integrated logistics, training, and sustaining engineering support are also provided by Boeing. In 2006, Boeing was authorized to produce two additional WGS satellites. The procuring agency is the U.S. Air Force Space Command's MILSATCOM Systems Wing at Los Angeles AFB, California.

With an initial launch scheduled in 2007, WGS will provide transformational capabilities supporting government objectives for the Transformational Communications Architecture in the next decade and beyond.

WGS supports communications links within the Government's allocated 500 MHz of X-band and 1 GHz of Ka-band spectrum. The WGS payload can filter and route 4.875 GHz of instantaneous bandwidth. Depending on the mix of ground terminals, data rates and modulation schemes employed, each satellite can support data transmission rates ranging from 2.1 Gbps to more than 3.6 Gbps. By comparison, a DSCS III satellite will support up to 0.25 Gbps.

The WGS design includes 19 independent coverage areas that can be positioned throughout the field of view of each satellite. This includes eight steerable and shapeable X-band beams formed by separate transmit and receive phased arrays; 10 Ka-band beams served by independently steerable, diplexed antennas, including three with selectable RF polarization; and transmit/receive X-band Earth coverage beams.

The enhanced connectivity capabilities of WGS enable any user to communicate with any other user with very efficient use of satellite bandwidth. A digital channelizer divides the uplink bandwidth into nearly 1,900 independently routable 2.6 MHz subchannels, providing connectivity from any uplink coverage area to any downlink coverage area (including the ability to cross-band between X and Ka frequencies). In addition, the channelizer supports multicast and broadcast services and provides an effective and flexible uplink spectrum monitoring capability to support network control.

The figure below shows how the X-band and Ka-band antenna suites are interconnected via the digital channelizer to provide the unique flexibility and connectivity of WGS.

Command and Control: Control of the WGS communications payloads is accomplished from four Army Wideband Satellite Operations Centers (WSOCs), using ground equipment hardware and software developed by Boeing, ITT Industries, and Raytheon Corp. Each Global Satellite Configuration and Control Element (GSCCE) has the capability to control up to three satellites at a time, via "in-band" (X-band or Ka-band) telemetry and command links. Spacecraft platform control is accomplished by the 3rd Space Operations Squadron (3 SOPS) at Schriever AFB in Colorado Springs, using WGS mission unique software and databases provided by Boeing, hosted on the Command and Control Segment Consolidated (CCS-C) systems that are being fielded by Integral Systems, Inc. The satellite is designed for compatibility with the current S-band SGLS TT&C capability, as well as the planned Unified S-band (USB) formats and frequencies.

Boeing 702 Platform :
The Boeing 702 satellite is the industry leader in capacity, performance and cost-efficiency. Enabling technologies for the advanced 702 design are the xenon-ion propulsion system (XIPS), highly efficient triple-junction gallium arsenide solar cells, and deployable radiators with flexible heat pipes.

XIPS is 10 times more efficient than conventional bipropellant systems. Four 25-cm thrusters remove orbit eccentricity during transfer orbit operations and are used for orbit maintenance and to perform station change maneuvers as required throughout the mission life. Deployable radiators with flexible heat pipes provide substantially more radiator area, resulting in a cooler, more stable thermal environment for both bus and payload. This increases component reliability and reduces performance variations over life.

As the leading provider of advanced satellite communications systems for broadcast and packet-switched satellite communications, Boeing has leveraged a wealth of Government and commercial experience and technology for WGS. This includes the company's extensive investments to develop the Boeing 702, as well as prior work on phased array antennas and digital signal processors. Together these technologies enabled the tremendous capacity and operational flexibility sought for the WGS space segment. Additionally, these core capabilities can support WGS evolution to satisfy additional transformational requirements of the warfighter, such as improved connectivity for intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance platforms and network-centric communications architectures.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Guard wing transitions to Langley

LANGLEY AIR FORCE BASE, Va. (AFPN) -- The Virginia Air National Guard's 192nd Fighter Wing records its last F-16 Fighting Falcon training mission June 20.

The wing, which has flown the F-16 since 1991 and is the nation's first ANG unit to fly the F-22 Raptor, will conduct associated operations with the 1st Fighter Wing here.

More than 20 192nd Fighter Wing pilots are trained to fly the F-22 and a growing number of the wing's fulltime and traditional status Guardsmen are working alongside their active-duty counterparts, changing the face of the Virginia ANG.

At Langley, 192nd FW Airmen will associate themselves with the F-22A Raptor mission, the 480th Intelligence Wing's Distributed Ground Station imagery analysis mission and the Combat Air Force Logistic Support Center, said Col. Jay Pearsall, 192nd Fighter Wing commander.

The move is part of the Air Force's Total Force Integration initiative, which spans the entire Air Force mission and represents the service's reality of "One team, one fight, with a shared, disciplined combat focus."

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Rocket fails to put NROL Spy Sats in right orbit

Name: USA 194 (NROL-30/NOSS 3-4 Mission)
International Desig: 2007-027A
SSC #: 31701
Launch Date/Time: 15 Jun 2007/1512 UTC
Launch Site: USAF Eastern Test Range
Launcher: Atlas 5/Centaur Upper Stage
Note: US Air Force Space Command only shows one payload associated with this launch, but there should be two payloads and the rocket bodies.

From the AGI Launch Notification Service:
"An Atlas V rocket blasted out of Cape Canaveral this morning carrying a pair of top-secret spy satellites believed to be used to track ships at sea.

"The rocket's first stage is performed perfectly as it arced out across the Atlantic Ocean, cutting across a nearly-clear blue sky. At payload fairing separation, the National Reconnaissance Office cut public access to the mission control loops so officials could begin working with the deployment of the classified spacecraft.

"The magazine Aviation Week & Space Technology reports that the secret spacecraft are two satellites intended to track ships moving at sea, including those that might hint at terrorist activities or Chinese or Iranian naval tactics. They are being launched for the National Reconnaissance Office."

Amateur video of this military launch can be seen at Latest elsets at the end of story below.

The story below is an update on the mission courtesy of Florida Today.

Rocket fails to put craft in right orbit - Satellites required to boost selves
By John Kelly, Florida Today

A pair of top-secret ocean surveillance spacecraft blasted off from Cape Canaveral on Friday morning, but the Atlas 5 rocket's upper stage failed to deliver them to the targeted orbit.

The Air Force and the National Reconnaissance Office, the clandestine agency in charge of the United States' spy satellites, confirmed a performance problem with the Centaur upper stage of the Atlas 5 rocket.

However, the NRO said it is "confident in the performance of its mission."

The trade publication Aviation Week & Space Technology offered details.

The magazine said the two spacecraft, which it identified as ocean surveillance satellites, separated from the Centaur upper stage.

However, the Centaur's second engine firing did not last long enough, leaving the spacecraft short of the intended target.

The magazine reported the two satellites had enough propellant of their own to maneuver into the appropriate higher orbit.

If the spacecraft have to use their own propellant to boost their orbits, it will reduce the satellites' useful on-orbit lifetime.

The Atlas 5 blasted off from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station's Pad 41 at 11:12 a.m., arcing out across the Atlantic Ocean bound for a secret orbit.

Details about the spacecraft, flight path and target destination were kept secret by the government.

Early in the day, the government and Atlas 5 team reported the spacecraft successfully separated from the launch vehicle.

However, by late evening, a statement was issued, indicating that the rocket's upper stage did not perform as designed.

The Air Force said the Centaur "had a technical anomaly which resulted in minor performance degradation."

The Air Force and NRO would not elaborate. United Launch Alliance would not comment.

The Air Force, which manages the Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle program under which the Atlas flies, launched an investigation.

Friday's countdown was relatively smooth. Late in the countdown, the launch team studied an issue related to a liquid hydrogen valve and pushed the launch back eight minutes while engineers made sure that the problem would not hamper the flight.

The Atlas family of launch vehicles had tallied 80 consecutive successes prior to the launch of the super-secret NRO payload on Friday.

The Atlas string of successes date back to 1993, when an Atlas first-stage engine failure left a Navy communications satellite in the wrong orbit.

Back-to-back Atlas missions went awry in April 1991 and August 1992 when Centaur upper-stage engines suffered nearly identical failures.

Commercial communications satellites were lost on both missions.

A Centaur upper-stage failure during an April 1999 Titan 4 rocket mission left a $1 billion Milstar military communications satellite useless.

Latest elsets for the NOSS 3-4 mission courtesy of Daniel Deak and the SEESAT gang.
NOSS 3-4 (A)
1 31701U 07027A 07167.06697797 0.00000000 00000-0 00000-0 0 06
2 31701 63.4420 44.9170 0300000 182.7408 177.2592 13.66600000 01
1 70002U 07166.70111494 .00000011 00000-0 20000-4 0 07
2 70002 63.4420 42.8917 0107863 182.7436 177.3009 13.39714521 00

Friday, June 15, 2007

Special Use Airspace

Milcom monitors like Special Use Airspace (SUA)!

And the reason is you will find concentrated milair activity in and around SUAs. Special use airspace consists of airspace of defined dimensions identified by an area on the surface of the earth wherein activities must be confined because of their nature, or wherein limitations are imposed upon aircraft operations that are not a part of those activities, or both.

Restricted areas, Prohibited areas, MOAs, Alert Areas, Warning Areas, and National Security Areas are covered in a publication that is issues yearly by the FAA. PDF document FAA Order JO 7400.8N dated 16 Feb 2007 is a free download at This is a must have reference for your personal milcom library.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Elmendorf celebrates C-17 arrival

by Staff Sgt. Francesca Popp, 3rd Wing Public Affairs

The C-17 Globemaster III "Spirit of Denali" (Side number 0169) touches down for the first time June 11 at its new home at Elmendorf Air Force Base, Alaska. "Spirit of Denali" is the first C-17 of eight to arrive at Elmendorf AFB. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Tinese Treadwell)

Elmendorf officially received its first C-17 Globemaster III airlifter June 11 during a ceremony here.

The C-17, "Spirit of Denali," was delivered by Alaska's Lt. Gov. Sean Parnell.

"The C-17 is an exceptional aircraft and what a smooth ride," said the lieutenant governor. "This is a great day for Alaskans, as well for our Air Force and Guard. Never have we been so well-equipped to do so much good in the world around us.

"Whether it's taking 102 Soldiers to strategic locations or flying over 170,000 pounds of humanitarian aid to impoverished nations ... we can do far more, far faster than ever before," he said. "For these reasons and many more, I was thrilled to be on this aircraft to contemplate the hope and opportunities the C-17 will provide."

The nation's newest airlifter will allow Elmendorf to improve its ability to accomplish the mission of global reach by delivering people and supplies anywhere, anytime.

The C-17 mission will be operated and maintained by the active duty Air Force and Alaska Air National Guard. The C-17 replaces the C-130 Hercules in the 517th Airlift Squadron and is a new platform for the Guard.

"We start a new heritage today in the Alaska Air National Guard. We make operational the 249th Airlift Squadron," said Brig. Gen. Tony Hart, the 176th Wing commander. "The 249th and 517th are going to be the cornerstone of the future total force integration that's going to happen here at Elmendorf."

Col. Tom Tinsley, 3rd Wing commander, said there is no better place to have the C-17 deliver airpower for America than in Alaska.

"Once the C-17 becomes fully operational here in Alaska, it will perform similar missions to the preceding aircraft (the C-130) with two major differences," Colonel Tinsley said. "We will be able to project mobility and airlift air power on a global scale. We are doing this with an associate partnership with the 176th Wing. We're doing total force integration and making it a reality for the first time in Alaska."

Total force integration at Elmendorf will create efficiencies, retain invaluable human capital, and above all, maximize the capabilities of the Air Force components.

Alaska provides a unique advantage for global delivery because it is strategically located near the center of the northern hemisphere. With more than 62,000 square miles of airspace, America's 49th state offers an ideal location for Airmen to test the aircraft's interoperability in an austere environment.

"I'll just bet that your pilots are chomping at the bit to take your new C-17 out for a spin in that environment," said Ron Marcotte, Boeing vice president and general manager of Global Mobility Systems and Integrated Defense Systems-Long Beach.

The airlift mission at Elmendorf will transform with the change to C-17s. Global-direct delivery will be the mission focus, while continuing to work closely with the Army supporting Fort Richardson Soldiers and the Stryker Brigade.

To support these aircraft, facilities on Elmendorf were built, upgraded, or are being built. These include a large-frame aircraft hangar; a state-of-the-art flight simulator; a dual-bay hangar; survival equipment shop; squadron operations buildings and hangars; egress; battery shops; and life support offices. There will also be construction at Fort Greeley's Allen Army Airfield to upgrade the assault landing zone there.

The eighth and final C-17 is scheduled to arrive here in November. Elmendorf AFB is the second Pacific Air Forces location for C-17s.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Sunday Punch Monitored

An anonymous Hawaiian monitor caught callsign "Sunday Punch" (USS Port Royal CG-73) conduting a radio check on 328.200 MHz. This is the SOPA Harbor-Port Operations in Pearl Harbor, HI. Thanks Brian for the update.

New OH National Guard Freq

My old friend Jack Metcalfe up Kentucky way has discovered a new Ohio ANG/NG HF frequency. The USB/ALE transmission from ANGSPRINGFIELD and NGTROOPCMD were monitored on 2492.0 kHz. Thanks Jack for the update.

Snowbirds honor Team Malmstrom

by Capt. Elizabeth Mathias, 341st Space Wing Public Affairs

6/1/2007 - MALMSTROM AIR FORCE BASE, Mont. -- The Canadian Forces Snowbirds departed Great Falls at 12:45 p.m. June 1 in their distinctive red-and-white jets to return to 15 Wing Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan.

The team's CT-114 Tutor jets had remained in Great Falls following the team's departure May 21. Maj. Gen. Charles Bouchard, 1 Canadian Air Division commander, and Canadian Forces Flight Safety confirmed May 31 that the aircraft were ready for flight.

The Snowbirds flew over Malmstrom's runway as they left Great Falls, to thank the base for support provided to the team since the crash that claimed the life of Snowbird 2, Capt. Shawn McCaughey, during a rehearsal performance over Malmstrom May 18.

"It's a symbolic flight," said Lt. Petra Smith, Canadian Forces Snowbirds Public Affairs. "The team will fly in an eight-ship formation over the base to express our gratitude for all of the base's support. We will remember the outstanding support we received here and are very thankful for it."

The team's unique performances showcase nine Tutor jets flying precision formation maneuvers; the june 1 formation was the first time the team had flown since the crash May 18.

"Today's fly-over was poignant," said Col. Sandra Finan, 341st Space Wing commander. "It was a tribute to the connection between Malmstrom and the Snowbirds." Members of Team Malmstrom watched the formation from locations across the base.

Tthe team also visited the Montana Veterans Memorial May 31, where a tile bearing Captain McCaughey's name and a maple tree were placed in his honor shortly after the accident. The tile and the tree were donated by individuals living in Great Falls.

"The tile and tree at the Veterans Memorial were a particularly touching gesture," said Lieutenant Smith. "The team paid their respects and took pictures to show Shawn's family and fiance." The Snowbirds also flew over the memorial as they departed Great Falls.

The team planned to arrive in Moose Jaw in formation as well, the first step in returning to their 2007 season, which they will dedicate to the fallen Captain. The team's first performance is scheduled for June 20 in Owen Sound, Ontario.

The New Kidd on the Block

By Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Harrold Henck, Navy Operational Support Center, Houston Public Affairs

GALVESTON, Texas (NNS) -- The Navy’s newest Aegis-guided missile destroyer, USS Kidd (DDG 100), was brought to life to the cheers and tears of a proud crowd of 2,500 gathered at Galveston’s historic Pier 21 here June 9.

The emotionally-charged nighttime commissioning recalled the Navy’s proud past and heralded its promising future. The new destroyer honors Medal of Honor recipient Rear Adm. Isaac Campbell Kidd Sr. who was killed aboard the USS Arizona during Pearl Harbor — the first U.S. flag officer to die during World War II.

Kidd's granddaughters, Regina Kidd Wolbarsht and Mary Corrinne Kidd Plumer, ship sponsors, ordered the officers and crew to "man our ship and bring her to life," and with a response of "aye, aye ma'am," the DDG 100 crew moved through the cheering crowd to man the rails of their ship.

U.S. Rep. Ron Paul, 14th Congressional District, Texas, served as keynote speaker and saluted the ship, its crew and their role in the defense of our country.

“Whether we are elected leaders or enlisted military, we all take a similar oath to support and defend the Constitution of the United States. In taking this oath, we all pledge to protect the law of our land, and in so doing, we promise to protect our country, our people, and our way of life,” said Paul.

Vice Adm. Terrance T. Etnyre, commander, Naval Surface Forces, also addressed the crew and admonished them to be ever vigilant.

“To those given much, much is expected. You are the recipients of the best technology and machinery in the fleet. Five hundred and ten feet of sovereign U.S. territory that can go anywhere, anytime without permission. This ship's primary mission will be to ensure peace. We don’t know what you’ll encounter, but with you, this ship becomes a warship, and your country expects you to be ready to fight and win when called to defend it,” said Etnyre.

Cmdr. Richard E. Thomas of Westwood, N.J., is the ship's first commanding officer and will lead a crew of 276 officers and Sailors. In his remarks, Thomas proudly recalled the ship’s namesake and encouraged his crew to honor Kidd’s memory with their continued service.

“We carry the name of a great naval leader and war hero. As we set sail under his name, we will strive to live up to his great record and be role models for those sailors who follow after us,” Said Thomas.

Thomas’ recollections of Kidd and the 1941 Japanese attack stirred the emotions of at least one Pearl Harbor survivor in attendance. Enoch “Buttsy” Vaughn, of Dickinson, Texas, was stationed on Ford Island at Pearl Harbor and witnessed the fateful strike during which the USS Arizona was sunk and Kidd killed.

“It was just awful ... I’ll never forget the explosions and the horror of seeing our ships go down,” he said.

Vaughn served throughout the war and remained in the Navy until 1959. Asked what he thought of the Navy’s newest ship, he marveled at its technology.

“We had nothing back then that could compare with this ship ... . it could do the work of 20 of our ships with all its new capabilities,” he said.

With its myriad of offensive and defensive weapons, the 9,200-ton Kidd is capable of fighting air, surface and subsurface battles simultaneously. The ship is also the 50th Arleigh Burke-class destroyer to be built and the third to be named in honor of Kidd. The first Kidd, DD 661, was a Fletcher-class destroyer in service from 1943-1974, and is now a floating museum in Baton Rouge, La. The second Kidd, DDG 993, was in service from 1981-1998, and was subsequently sold to Taiwan.

Shipmates from both DD-661 and DDG-993 were in attendance for the commissioning. Among them was Buddy Wolfford, who served as a boiler tender on the first USS Kidd during the Korean War. Seeing the new Kidd caused him to comment on the great differences and improvements between the generations.

“For one thing, we didn’t have air conditioning. And where we had guns, they’ve got missiles. This is a dream ship,” said Wolfford.

In a continuing salute to the past, plaques from the first Kidd commissioning were put on board along with two smaller boats named after Kidd’s granddaughters, Regina and Mary, who serve as the ship’s sponsors. Both ladies were excited and proud to be a part of the event.

Speaking on behalf of her family, Regina Kidd Wolbarsht said, "To have a ship named for one’s ancestor is truly an honor and we wish her new crew well. We are so proud to be here tonight and deeply appreciate the Navy’s continued recognition of our grandfather and his service. This clearly shows the Admiral’s death and the attack on Pearl Harbor are not forgotten.”

The historic port of Galveston was a fitting site for the ceremony. The port is home to the museum-submarine ship USS Cavalla (SS244), who, on her maiden voyage in 1944, sank the 30,000 ton Japanese aircraft carrier Shokaku, one of the carriers that launched the attack on Pearl Harbor. As USS Kidd departs for her new homeport in San Diego, her crew will render honors to Cavalla, an acknowledgement of the moment in World War II when the submarine struck an avenging blow to the enemy who had killed over 2,400 Sailors at Pearl Harbor, including the ship's namesake.

Monday, June 11, 2007

OFEK-7 Update

International Designator: 2007-025A; NORAD SSC#: 31601
Orbital Inclination: 141.7 deg; Orbital Period: 93.75 min
Apogee x Perigee: 576 x 340 km

Israeli Spy Satellite Launched

Photo courtesy of Israeli Aerospace Industries.

From the Milcom files the Ofek-7 Intl Designator 2007-025A (SSC# 31601). A very interesting milsat launch by Israel given the current situation in Iran and the increased summer tensions with Syria. Have the Israelis ratcheted up the situation another notch? It would sure appear that way.

Press Release from IAI:
Today, June 06, 2007, at 0240 hrs, Israel's 'OFEK 7' satellite was launched and successfully injected into orbit by means of a 'Shavit' satellite launcher. 'OFEK 7' is an advanced technology remote sensing satellite.

In the next phase, the satellite will undergo several tests for validation of its serviceability and satisfactory performance.

Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI Ltd) has developed and produced the satellite and the launcher, in response to an order placed by the IMOD, and in cooperation with various high-tec companies: El- Op, IMI, Rafael, Tadiran-Spectralink, Elisra and some others.

The launch has been conducted from the Israeli Air Force test range at Palmahim Air Force Base.

OFEK 7 - Main Characteristics
The OFEK 7 satellite is an additional Ofeq observation satellite built by Israel Aerospace Industries for Israel MOD. The OFEK 7 is a follow–on satellite to OFEK 5 which was launched in 2002, and contains several enhancements which will provide improved imagery to the customer. The OFEK mini satellite main characteristics:

Dry Weight 300 Kg
Height 2.3 m
Stowed Diameter 1.2 m
Width of satellite with deployed solar array 3.6 m
Expected operational lifetime 4 years minimum

The satellite was launched by IAI's Shavit launcher to an elliptical orbit of 300 x 600 Km.

Following separation from the launcher, the satellite performed a series of autonomous activities, including deployment of the solar panels. The satellite and its subsystems' performance including the imaging capabilities will be tested over the next few days.

The Shavit Launcher
The global market trend towards the use of smaller satellites for remote sensing, telecommunications, science and other commercial, civilian and military applications is the major driver for IAI's MLM Division to offer orbit insertion services using its SHAVIT family of satellite launchers.

The SHAVIT launcher offers various options for launching small satellites into Low Earth orbit (LEO) – typically 200 to 600 Km above earth surface. The SHAVIT launch system is based on flight-proven hardware and software, and a unique integration and launch concept. These reduce significantly launch preparation time, and, consequently lower the overall launch cost.

SHAVIT is a three-stage satellite launcher, powered by three solid rocket motors. The first two stages lift the launcher to an altitude where the launcher positioned itself to eject the satellite shroud, followed by separation of the Main Instrumentation Compartment. While spinning, the third stage motor is ignited boosting the launcher to orbit velocity and the satellite is inserted accurately into its transfer orbit.

The launcher used to launch OFEK 7 is more capable and reliable than the launcher used for OFEK 5 in 2002. Since the first launch of OFEK in 1988, the SHAVIT launcher was continuously improved in order to enable insertion into orbit of ever more advanced OFEK satellites.

Saturday, June 09, 2007

Daly backs move to ground Blue Angels show

From the you got to be kidding department...then again this is the left coast and Silly Cisco. If this goes through their loss will be someone else's gain. If they ground the Blues then the Navy Department should no longer conduct Fleet Week in SF. I am sure Seattle or Portland would welcome them with open arms.

The continued anti-military mindset in San Francisco has now targeted the Blue Angels flight demonstration team. The peacenik groups of CodePink, Global Exchange and Veterans for Peace, and Chapter 69 are working with Board of Supervisor member Chris Daly to introduce a resolution calling for a permanent halt to the popular Fleet Week flyover.

The complete story by Joshua Sabatini, The Examiner at

Atlantis in Orbit

Atlantis is now on Space-Track with catalog number 31600.

1 31600U 07024A 07169.81825089 .00014500 00000-0 95600-4 0 9137
2 31600 51.6311 95.4540 0008781 328.8712 31.1933 15.78690063 1579

French Say 'Non' to U.S. Disclosure of Secret Satellites

Blognote: The Graves French Space Surveillance radar is located near Dijon, France and operates on 143.050 MHz. It uses a powerful transmitter transmitting a continues wave carrier. Here is a screenshot of the ISS crossing the Graves RF fence courtesy of of Paul J. Marsh at According to Paul There are four antenna beams "sweeping" there sectors. The Graves sourcebook gives good info about the radar at

Full Story on
By PETER B. de SELDING, Space News Staff Writer

BROYE-LES-PESMES, France - A French space-surveillance radar has detected 20-30 satellites in low Earth orbit that do not figure in the U.S. Defense Department's published catalogue, a discovery that French officials say they will use to pressure U.S. authorities to stop publishing the whereabouts of French reconnaissance and military communications satellites.

After 16 months of operations of their Graves radar system, which can locate satellites in orbits up to 1,000 kilometers in altitude and even higher in certain cases, the French Defense Ministry says it has gathered just about enough information to negotiate an agreement with the United States.

Rest of the story at

Thursday, June 07, 2007

KSC Launch Comms Update 1

Here is the latest frequency report related to the STS-117 launch from KSC. Future frequency reports on mission will be posted on our sister blog, the Btown Monitoring Post at Be sure to follow the mission on that blog.

Trunk Radio System Talkgroups
See our Monitoring NASA and Space Communciations Guide for more details online at

208 US Fish & Wildlife patch
272 US Park Service patch
336 Comm 107
672 Alarm Techs / ALPHA ##
688 Alarm Techs
976 Fire 116
1104 Fire Inspector
1136 Fire Tac 1
1248 911 Emergency
1296 KSC Medical 117
1616 Safety 105
1648 Safety 110
1680 Safety 205
1760 Safety B Net
1936 Security 103 (KSC)
1952 Security 203 (CCAFS)
5392 EH Base Y Net
6736 Timing G Net
6800 Metrics 102
7760 Unidentified users/Usage
9936 PAO 108
10576 Payload 500
10896 Rail
11600 NASA Tower
12176 Unidentified users/usage
12192 Security Base / Security 1, ENI lab all secure; mention of Direct 8
12240 Unidentified users/usage
12496 Support 104
12528 Elevators
13136 Transportation 206
14096 Utilities 101
14256 Utilities 301
18064 PROJECT VAN (supporting STAVE flight, 229.000 ground side simulcast here)
18144 Timing
18192 Weather Base
18272 Base / EMC 1; EMC 4
18608 "main crane to the north"
20208 READY BASE / Weather Warning on B Net, Utility 1, Utility 2, Y Net
34896 Patrick "COSO"
35856 Patrick Tower

Misc freqs from late afternoon monitoring:
118.625 CCAFS Tower
118.900 KTIX Tower
126.650 NASA Tower / STA / WX
128.550 NASA Tower
133.750 Patrick Tower
148.650 Data / telemetry (also brief open mic with unid background clutter)
152.345 Spaceport USA Security repeater [pl 167.9]
152.405 Spaceport USA Maint repeater [pl 167.9]
154.515 Spaceport USA Tour Control [167.9]
156.800 Ch 16
157.100 Ch 22A
157.150 Ch 23A
157.175 Ch 83 CG Aux
229.000 CCAFS Projects (STAVE 1 test flight)
239.050 CCAFS Tower
251.900 Patrick AFB SAR
255.500 Patrick AFB RESCUE OPS
284.000 NASA Tower

10780.0 kHz USB Ascension Radio calling N41CX (DC-8, Air Transport Inc) for radio check.

As always your reports are appreciated and welcomed for this and future missions. Email address is in the masthead.

Shuttle Launch Support Milsat Comms Monitored

Ron Rensen fires the first monitoring shot for the upcoming Space Shuttle launch of Atlantis on the STS-117 mission. He monitored launch support comms on 261.450 MHz, a UHF milsat downlink. He heard Herky 621 working Wolfhound. Phil Williams also heard some comms on this one. He writes on the Hearsat newsgroup: "Following Ronald's post last night I left the ICR20 on that freq recording overnight and heard 'Variable Variable calling Pantenne' with English accent. along with a lot of keying-up and a 2khz tone and very occasional DTMF."

Many thanks to Ron, Phil and the Hearsat newsgroup for reporting this launch support frequencies. If you hear any launch related comms please drop us some email.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

26 MEU Completes Mission for CENTCOM

USS BATAAN, At Sea (NNS) -- The 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) departed U.S. Central Command's (CENTCOM) area of operations (AOO) June 1, concluding a significant stage of the unit's current deployment.

The 26th MEU entered the CENTCOM AOO Jan. 1 to assume the role of theater reserve. With the role came the responsibilities of engaging partner nations in support of regional security efforts and maintaining the capability to quickly respond to any contingency that might arise across the Middle East.

Although the course of the 26th MEU's travels did not include stops in Iraq or Afghanistan, the importance of the work the Marines and Sailors have done throughout the region since February cannot be overstated, said Marine Col. Gregg A. Sturdevant, 26th MEU commander.

"Our continued engagement and regional stability are key to ensuring nations in the Middle East don't fall prey to transnational terrorism," said Sturdevant.

Within days of passing through the Suez Canal and into CENTCOM's AOO, the MEU offloaded several hundred Marines and their equipment in Djibouti to conduct Image Nautilus, an exercise that involved bilateral military training and a community relations project in the African nation.

Combat Logistics Battalion (CLB) 26 headed up the operations ashore, providing all the logistics requirements to ensure exercise success.

Marines from Battalion Landing Team (BLT) 2/2 worked alongside dozens of Djiboutian soldiers conducting weapons handling drills, vehicle-mounted assaults and live-fire ranges with small arms, heavy machine guns and rockets.

Approximately 80 Marines and Sailors from BLT 2/2 spent two days painting, making general repairs and cleaning at Ecole du Stade Primary School in the Balballa area of Djibouti City.

As elements of BLT 2/2 and CLB 26 wrapped up Image Nautilus, the rest of the MEU continued around the Horn of Africa in preparation for the next regional engagement in Kenya.

Exercise Edged Mallet, conducted March 2-12, saw Marines and Sailors participating in bilateral military training with elements of the Kenyan army, as well as community relations projects in the surrounding areas of Naval Station Manda Bay, Kenya.

The bilateral training portion of the exercise featured BLT 2/2 conducting live-fire ranges, exchanging demonstrations of tactics and conducting joint patrols with units from the Kenyan 15th Rifle Battalion.

Marines from CLB 26 joined with engineers from the Kenyan military to refurbish the Bargoni Primary School in Bargoni, Kenya.

In a separate community outreach effort, several medical specialists from the MEU and Bataan Strike Group held a two-day medical clinic for residents of the Bargoni area.

Marine Medium Helicopter Squadron (HMM) 264 (Reinforced) provided tactical and lift support to both the Marines and Kenyans and between ship and shore.

Following the conclusion of operations in the Horn of Africa, the 26th MEU began moving north into the Persian Gulf and a scheduled exercise with a gulf region nation.

The 26th MEU and Qatari forces conducted bilateral military training in Qatar April 3-15.

The scheduled exercise Eastern Maverick enhanced interoperability and tactical proficiency between U.S. and Qatari forces, while strengthening and refining peaceful military-to-military relationships.

Approximately 900 Marines and Sailors from the 26th MEU participated in the exercise, which included classroom training, practical applications and live-fire ranges.

Shortly after sailing from Qatar, the MEU arrived in the Northern Persian Gulf ready to commence their largest offload and training evolution to date.

The 26th MEU completed the off-load of nearly all personnel and equipment from the ships of the Bataan Strike Group into Kuwait April 23 to begin two weeks of sustainment training at the Udairi Range complex.

The training provided the Marines and Sailors of the MEU an opportunity to exercise and refresh skills that would ensure the unit's continued readiness to conduct contingency operations throughout CENTCOM's area of responsibility (AOR).

The MEU wrapped up training in Kuwait and rejoined the Bataan Strike Group in early May.

USS Bataan (LHD 5) and USS Shreveport (LPD 12) set a course around the Arabian Peninsula and into a Middle East port to stage the MEU for its final engagement exercise in CENTCOM's AOR.

The annual exercise paired Marines and Sailors from the MEU with elements of the host nation military to conduct bilateral training and enhance the two country's interoperability.

The bilateral training culminated with a combined operation that witnessed motorized, mechanized and helicopter-borne forces from BLT 2/2 and the host nation's military conducting a coordinated assault on several objectives with air support from HMM 264 (Rein) and their aircraft.

The presence and work of the greater Bataan Expeditionary Strike Group supporting U.S. Naval Forces Central Command (NAVCENT) throughout the regional maritime environment helped to sustain a secure environment for some of the world's busiest and most vital commercial sea lanes.

As the 26th MEU sets a course for the home waters of the United States, Sturdevant said he is proud of the many accomplishments of the unit's Marines and sailors, and they should be proud of their mission success in support of CENTCOM and NAVCENT.

The 26th MEU departed North Carolina Jan. 6 on a routine deployment as the landing force with the Bataan Strike Group. In addition to Bataan, the strike group is comprised of the USS Oak Hill (LSD 51), Shreveport, USS Nitze (DDG 94), USS Vella Gulf (CG 72), USS Underwood (FFG 36) and USS Scranton (SSN 756).