President, veterans and historic launches mark busy week

  • Published
  • By Brig. Gen. Ed Wilson
  • Commander, 45th Space Wing
Wow! April was certainly a blur for the Sharks and our Mission Partners. And May is continuing at the fast pace we set last month.

President Barack Obama visited us last Friday, in hopes of seeing Endeavour's final launch. While the launch was scrubbed, we were honored to greet him and his family before he traveled to Kennedy Space Center to meet with Endeavour's crew. The President also met with Congresswoman Gabrielle Gifford, whose recovery from gunshot wounds continues to amaze everyone, including her military spouse, Navy Capt. Mark Kelly, who is commanding the Endeavour mission.

Speaking of spouses, today is National Military Spouses Day. All of us who are married should take time every day to thank our "better halves" for all they do to support us and the nation. We look forward to awarding the Patrick Spouse of the Year Wednesday at noon at the Airman and Family Readiness Center.

We should also not forget to thank those who went before us, and all veterans for their service. Vietnam and All Veterans of Brevard are hosting their annual reunion through Sunday at Wickham Park. Lisa and I were honored to participate in the opening ceremonies Monday evening and thanked them for their service. If you haven't had the chance, I encourage you to take time this weekend to thank and honor our veterans, of whom we should be proud.

Yesterday, we celebrated a huge milestone in the annals of space history, the 50th anniversary of American human space flight. Alan Shepard became the first astronaut in the Free World when Freedom 7 launched May 5, 1961, from the Cape. We were fortunate to have Lt. Gen. Susan Helms, 14th Air Force commander, and former 45th Space Wing commander, speak at the event.

Last, but certainly not least, the 45th Space Wing is set to launch this afternoon an Atlas V rocket that will carry into orbit the historic first satellite, GEO-1, part of the Space Based Infrared System. SBIRS will replace the Defense Support Program System as a key part of North America's missile early warning and defense systems, and will provide critical functions for servicemen and women downrange.

So, take time if you are in the area to watch the planned launch this afternoon. The launch window opens at 2:14 p.m.

And if you are looking for something unique to witness on Saturday, visit KSC help celebrate with General Helms as she's inducted into the Astronaut Hall of Fame.

As always, thank you for all you do.