Spacelift - A Team Sport
By Lt. Col. Brian Renga, Deputy Commander, 45th Launch Group
/ Published July 12, 2012
PATRICK AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. -- In the month of June we successfully launched two rockets! Like spectators, the local residents and some from afar line the roads and beaches to catch a glimpse of these spectacular events. For these folks, the launches are the whole event, and a quick one at that; however, for those of us involved in spacelift, the launches are akin to touchdowns in a football game - very exciting, and more is better, but only one play in what is essentially a never-ending game. Like someone watching an amazing touchdown, watching a rocket launch gives little insight into all the team members on and off the field who make the game successful.
You might think that when I said "We" successfully launched two rockets in June that I was talking about the Launch Group, but in fact, we are only a part of the rather large spacelift team. The "We" I'm talking about are you the readers, the military, civilian and contractors who work at Patrick AFB and Cape Canaveral AFS, as well as others in places like Los Angeles and Decatur, Ala. Don't think you're part of the spacelift team? I think you're wrong, and keeping with the football analogy here are some examples to widen your aperture.
If you're an airman first class or civilian security guard assigned to the 45th Security Forces Squadron, are you part of the spacelift team? Absolutely! Football teams can't have anyone walking into their facilities, practices and games, except under certain conditions, and security personnel are required to restrict access. The spacelift team's security personnel serve the same vital role protecting other members of the team and mission by restricting access to our facilities, daily operations and launches, not only from interruption, but also our enemies.
If you're a civilian contracting officer in the 45th Contracting Squadron or at the Space and Missile Systems Center, or a lawyer in the 45th Judge Advocate office, are you part of the spacelift team? Absolutely! Football teams have staffs of managers and attorneys who do contracts with players, coaches and service providers, without which there is no team, let alone a game. The spacelift team operates the same way and contracting officers, program managers and lawyers are critical as contracts get us United Launch Alliance rockets and launch services. Contracts such as Eastern Range Technical Services (ERTS), Infrastructure Operations Maintenance Services (IOMS) and Launch Operation Support Contract (LOSC) provide very dedicated men and women to operate and maintain Patrick AFB, Cape Canaveral AFS and the Eastern Range.
If you're a staff sergeant, nurse or doctor working in the 45th Medical Group, are you part of the spacelift team? Absolutely! Football teams require many medical personnel such as doctors, physical therapist and nutritionist to maintain not just the players, but all team members. Just think of the stress the coaches can be under. The spacelift team has some of the finest medical professionals, not only to keep our team healthy, fit and resilient, but also to deal with potentially hazardous bioenvironmental situations associated with spacelift.
Whether you work in weather, civil engineering or personnel, keep your game face on, because you have a role on the spacelift team and we are always preparing for the next launch!