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45th Space Wing supports NASA's Radiation Belt Storm Probes launch

A United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket blasts off from Space Launch Complex 41 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station at 4:05 a.m. EDT Aug. 30 with NASA’s twin Radiation Belt Storm Probes mission. (Photo by Pat Corkery, ULA)

A United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket blasts off from Space Launch Complex 41 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station at 4:05 a.m. EDT Aug. 30 with NASA’s twin Radiation Belt Storm Probes mission. (Photo by Pat Corkery, ULA)

Col. Robert Pavelko, 45th Space Wing vice commander, served as the Launch Decision Authority for the first time Aug. 30. “It’s exhilarating to join so many gifted, hard-working teammates – military, government civilians, and contractors – all integral to demonstrating the 45th Space Wing is “The World’s Premier Gateway to Space,” he said. (Photo by Matthew Jurgens)

Col. Robert Pavelko, 45th Space Wing vice commander, served as the Launch Decision Authority for the first time Aug. 30. “It’s exhilarating to join so many gifted, hard-working teammates – military, government civilians, and contractors – all integral to demonstrating the 45th Space Wing is “The World’s Premier Gateway to Space,” he said. (Photo by Matthew Jurgens)

CAPE CANAVERAL AIR FORCE STATION, Fla. -- The U.S. Air Force's 45th Space Wing provided flawless Eastern Range support for the successful launch of the NASA's Radiation Belt Storm Probes on an Atlas V rocket Aug 30.

The launch was designed to study the Earth's Van Allen Radiation Belts and probe the influences of the Sun, according to Col. Robert Pavelko, vice commander of the 45th Space Wing.

"Understanding the radiation belt has important practical applications in the areas of spacecraft operations, design and mission planning -- all key to the mission of Air Force Space Command," said Colonel Pavelko.

The launch occurred at 4:05 a.m. (EDT) from Space Launch Complex 41 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station.

A combined team of military, government civilians and contractors from across the 45th Space Wing provided vital support to the RBSP mission, including weather forecasts, launch and range operations, security, safety and public affairs.

The wing also provided its vast network of radar, telemetry, optical and communications instrumentation to facilitate a safe launch on the Eastern Range.

This was the vice commander's first time serving as the Launch Decision Authority and he said he was thoroughly impressed by the preparation of the entire Eastern Range team to "make it happen."

"It's exhilarating to join so many gifted, hard-working teammates -- military, government civilians, and contractors -- all integral to demonstrating the 45th Space Wing is "The World's Premier Gateway to Space!" said Colonel Pavelko.

Members of the Wing were involved throughout the process of getting the RBSP into orbit.

"What most people don't see is the amount of behind-the-scenes work that goes on among all our mission partners," said 1st. Lt. Tatiana Cornier, a member of the 5th Space Launch Squadron and on-console Atlas V flight commander for the RBSP mission.

"People around the world and here at the Space Coast see the liftoff, which is definitely my favorite part," she said, "but they don't always see all the heavy lifting that goes on prior to launch day to ensure another successful mission. It's awe-inspiring and I'm honored to be a part of this world-class team."

The mission of the 45th Space Wing is one team...delivering assured space launch, range, and combat capabilities for the Nation.