New sanitation procedures take effect at Ridley Mission Control

Col. Matthew Higer, 412th Test Wing Commander, tours the Ridley Mission Control Center at Edwards Air Force Base, Calif., March 31, 2020. Higer toured the facility to see the expanded sanitation procedures recently put in place to help stem the coronavirus COVID-19 outbreak. (Air Force photograph by Ethan Wagner)

New expanded sanitation procedures were initiated recently at Edwards Air Force Base, Calif., to stem the Coronavirus COVID-19 outbreak to ensure the 412th Test Wing remains mission capable.

In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, the 412th Test Wing Commander, Col. Matthew Higer, and 412th Test Wing Technical Director, Daniel Osburn, both received a first-hand “walk-through” of the expanded sanitization procedures being implemented at the Ridley Mission Control Center on Edwards.

Ridley Mission Control Center (RMCC) serves as a data nexus hub between flight crews in the air and flight test engineers on the ground. Real-time flight data from aircraft can be sent directly to engineers at Ridley, where they monitor multiple facets of a test flight.

“The eyes-on tour was an important first step to the 412th Test Wing leadership to demonstrate that Airmen’s health concerns are being appropriately prioritized before test execution. The new sanitization procedures are designed to mitigate the health risk to Team Edwards personnel as the Wing seeks to ramp up strategically important test and evaluation flight operations later in the week supporting our Warfighter needs,” Osburn said.

Health protection and prevention measures are displayed inside the Ridley Mission Control Center at Edwards Air Force Base, Calif., to stem the Coronavirus COVID-19 outbreak and keep the 412th Test Wing mission capable. (Air Force photograph by Ethan Wagner)

The new procedures actually begin during the pre-flight briefings held at the combined test force level by self-identifying individual health risks prior to arriving at RMCC. Each CTF will administer health screening questionnaires, assuring individual safe health status, Osburn explained.

Increased vigilance through strict hygiene practices and disciplined social distancing will be emphasized with additional sign postings within RMCC. In addition, the Range Team will be sanitizing Mission Control Rooms (MCRs) with pre-mission work area disinfecting procedures which include headsets, keyboards and common test touchpoints. During mission operations, a disciplined seating plan will be followed to support social distancing. Post-Mission sanitization of the MCRs will also be completed in between missions to maximize Health and Safety to the workforce in preparation for follow-on missions at RMCC.

After the tour, Higer and Osburn both expressed confidence that these added procedures will ensure that Edwards will remain mission capable and ready.

“The 412th Test Wing is well-postured to continue to execute world-class risk management with our Airmen at the forefront of T&E missions for Warfighters around the world,” Higer said.

Col. Matthew Higer, 412th Test Wing Commander, reads over expanded sanitation procedures at the Ridley Mission Control Center on Edwards Air Force Base, California, March 31, 2020. (Air Force photograph by Ethan Wagner)


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