Defense

July 15, 2013

Innovation extends ORS-1’s life, mission

Tags:
Scott Prater
Schriever AFB, Colo.

Capt. Eric Palmer (left) and Airman 1st Class Quillan Fay review Operationally Responsive Space-1 procedures and mission objectives in preparation for a satellite contact June 29, 2013, at Schriever Air Force Base, Colo. The squadron members recently celebrated the two-year anniversary of ORS-1’s launch.

The Operationally Responsive Space-1 satellite launched June 29, 2011, and has been a star Air Force performer since its first day on orbit. Members of the 1st and 7th Space Operations Squadrons celebrated the spacecraft’s second birthday recently.

“This is a great time to recognize all of ORS-1’s accomplishments, but we’re not looking to rest right now,” said Lt. Col. Toby Doran, the 1st SOPS commander. “We’re focused on continuing to push innovation and the utility of this system.”

The vehicle has earned numerous awards from the scientific community thus far. It was named one of the top 25 most important concepts by C4ISR Journal, an intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance industry magazine, and the 2012 Mission Sustainment Integrated Product Team award from the Association of Old Crows, an association that advocates for electronic warfare, information operations and cyber technology.

Designed as a quick-response and low-cost alternative to traditional satellite systems, ORS-1 differs in several ways, but its primary distinction stems from its birth. It took approximately three years to develop from concept to launch and on-orbit operations, 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.

“It was initially designed to operate for only a year, but 1 and 7 SOPS engineers and operators discovered they could expand the life of the vehicle by pushing it to a higher orbit,” said. Lt. Col. Tony Calabrese, the 1st SOPS director of operations. “They also found that the higher orbit would not substantially affect the required quality of its images. That action alone extended the life of ORS-1 by three years.”

Doran explained that the†1st and 7th SOPS, also known as Team 8-Ball, will continue to take innovative steps to prolong the vehicle’s life even further, upwards of five times its original lifespan.

For instance, the team informed U.S. Central Command†leaders†that they could deliver effects on short-notice, urgent, high-priority tasks earlier this year. USCENTCOM officials responded a short time later when a CH-53 Sea Stallion crashed in a remote location.

“They sent us a message saying they had a helicopter go down,” Calabrese said. “They gave us a location and a tasking to get an image, and we made a quick turn that exceeded all expectations.”

In the meantime, the squadrons also expanded ORS-1 capabilities beyond a single combatant commander.
“We’re focusing on the future,” Calabrese said. “The vehicle was designed to support CENTCOM, but we recognized it could do so much more. We sent word out to U.S. Pacific and U.S Africa Commands, and reached out through the Joint Functional Component Command directly to combatant commander staffs to let them know we could support their taskings too. All they needed to do was ask.”

As a result, ORS-1 now provides effects for PACOM on a regular basis and does so occasionally with AFRICOM and Special Forces commands.

“Our crews in 1 and 7 SOPS understand the effects and impacts we’re making around the world,” said Capt. Eric Palmer, the 1st SOPS Operations Flight commander. “Since getting involved in these ad hoc tasks, our members have come to work even more excited. We know we are making an impact; we’re innovating and asking for more. There’s a lot of pride and sense of job satisfaction.”

Doran inferred that the point behind the Team 8-Ball anniversary ceremony was to acknowledge ORS-1’s success, but more importantly, announce their intent to focus on future capability and performance.
“Hopefully, we can provide effects to all combatant commanders,” Doran said. “Team 8-Ball is demonstrating that airmen, military, civilian and contractors can take systems and make them incredibly powerful.”




All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


 
 

 
Air Force photograph by TSgt. Matt Hecht

Laser-based aircraft countermeasure provides ‘unlimited rounds’ against MANPADS

Air Force photograph by TSgt. Matt Hecht A U.S. Army AH-64 Apache attack helicopter prepares to depart Bagram Air Field, Afghanistan, on Jan 7, 2012. The Apache conducts distributed operations, precision strikes against relocat...
 
 

Navy, Air Force advocate for modernizing combat aviation

Top Navy and Air Force officials today told the House Armed Services subcommittee on tactical air and land forces the president’s budget request for fiscal year 2016 will support modernizing combat aviation programs. Cavy Vice Adm. Paul A. Grosklags, principal military deputy to the assistant secretary of the Navy for research, development and acquisitions; Air...
 
 
Air Force photograph by SrA. Victor J. Caputo

McConnell community marks B-29 rollout

Air Force photograph by SrA. Victor J. Caputo A B-29 Superfortress aircraft, named Doc after its nose art, sit on the flightline March 23, 2015, in Wichita, Kan. Doc will be one of two Superfortresses in the world capable of fl...
 

 

Future USS John Finn launched

The future USS John Finn (DDG 113) was launched at the Huntington Ingalls Industries in Pascagoula, Miss., shipyard March 28. During launch the drydock was flooded allowing the 637-foot floating dock to slowly submerge until the ship was afloat. Once the drydock was fully submerged, the ship was pulled by tugs to HII’s south berth...
 
 
Courtesy photograph

First production QF-16 arrives at Tyndall

Courtesy photograph Maintainers begin post-flight checks on the first Lot 1 production model QF-16 after it arrived at Tyndall Air Force Base, Fla., March 11. The aircraft is the first of 13 deliveries to the 82nd Aerial Target...
 
 
Air Force photograph by A1C Dustin Mullen

E-9A Widget, one of a kind

Air Force photograph by A1C Dustin Mullen An E-9A Widget sits on the flight line in front of hangar 5 Mar. 3 at the 82nd Aerial Target Squadron. The Widget is a modified version of the Bombardier Dash-8, formerly Canadian De Ha...
 




0 Comments


Be the first to comment!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>