The Air Force Reserve’s 920th Rescue Wing out of Patrick AFB, Fla., provided security, safety and patrol support when NASA launched a test flight of its Orion deep space capsule earlier this month. “What a thrill and tremendous opportunity for all members of team Patrick-Cape to play a very active—and vitally important role—in this historic mission,” said Brig. Gen. Nina Armagno, 45th Space Wing commander, in a Dec. 15 release. “This mission is a testament to all the hard work and teamwork that culminated in a safe, successful launch.” The Dec. 5 flight is to “evaluate launch and high speed re-entry systems such as avionics, attitude control, parachutes, and the heat shield” for future human deep space missions, according to the release. Orion is a critical part of NASA’s plan to eventually send humans to Mars.
The U.S. supports “a stronger and more capable” European defense, Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III said during an Oct. 22 press conference in Brussels—but that defense should not duplicate the functions and capabilities of the NATO alliance.