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2007 - A year of mission success

PATRICK AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. -- Time flies-it was only a year ago I found myself writing an article in this space about the bright future of launch here at Patrick AFB and our expected rise in 2007 launch ops tempo. Since then, all that has come to pass and more. Looking back, 2007 has been a great year for the wing-a year of mission success.

This year the 45th Space Wing has successfully launched nine missions (with one to go!), including four Delta IIs, three Atlas Vs, and a Delta IV carrying a variety of NASA, DoD, and NRO payloads. We have played a critical role in the exploration of our solar system, and more importantly, provided critical support for the Global War On Terror. We should all be proud of our role in the GWOT-while relatively few of us get the chance to deploy in direct support of the war on terror, we all have a hand in the success of the 45th Space Wing's launch mission.

And we've executed that mission superbly. First, we maintained the robust health of the Global Positioning System constellation by launching one modernized GPS satellite-with a second set to launch next week. Our launch of the first Wideband Global SATCOM (WGS) satellite (10 times as capable as our older DSCS communications satellites) doubled the Department of Defense's space-based communication in one fell swoop, helping satisfy the constant demand for bandwidth from our troops overseas. Another key event was the long awaited Defense Support Program (DSP) launch-a combination of historic firsts and lasts. It was the first operational launch of the Delta IV Heavy which will provide all of the United States' heavy lift capability for the next decade. It was also the launch of the last DSP-a satellite sorely needed to keep our missile warning constellation healthy.

We did that and more, placing DSP-23 in its most accurate orbit in the entire 37-year history of this program! At the same time the wing has been going full bore everywhere else supporting three shuttle missions, acing the ORI, and AFSO-21 "leaning" our processes. Last but not least, this wing has done its fair share abroad with over 370 members deployed or preparing to deploy overseas.

Any way you want to slice it, the wing has done an outstanding job this year. I congratulate you all. Sometime during the Christmas holiday please take some time out to reflect on and take pride in our joint 2007 success-before we return after the New Year ready to keep "surfing the wave" in 2008!