The End of an Era

The Space Shuttle Atlantis blasted off on its historic 12-day mission just after 11:26 a.m. Friday from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Fla. Retired Navy Capt. Chris Ferguson will command the 135th and final flight in NASA’s storied...

SBIRS Satellite Opens Its Eyes

The Air Force and its industry partners have activated the infrared sensor payload on GEO-1, the first Space Based Infrared System geosynchronous satellite, moving the spacecraft one step closer to standing on-orbit watch for missile launches back on Earth. USAF space officials said tests are now underway to calibrate and characterize the GEO-1 payload for certification and operations. The payload has both a scanning sensor and a separate, independently steerable staring sensor. "We are tremendously proud of Team SBIRS for their superb efforts to initialize the Air Force's newest, most capable infrared payload," said Col. Mike Noble, deputy director of the Infrared Space Systems Directorate, at Los Angeles AFB, Calif., in a release. An Atlas V launch vehicle carried GEO-1 into space on May 7 from Cape Canaveral AFS, Fla. The spacecraft has been fully deployed and is functioning normally in its geosynchronous perch. Spacecraft bus and payload tests will continue in parallel to characterize and tune the integrated GEO system in preparation for operational acceptance and system certification next year, said the officials. Lockheed Martin is the SBIRS prime contractor; Northrop Grumman supplied GEO-1's payload.

Lynn Stepping Down

Bill Lynn on Thursday announced that he is stepping down as deputy defense secretary, a position he’s held since February 2009, to return to private life. He informed Defense Secretary Leon Panetta of these plans last week, said Pentagon officials....

Generals on the Move

Lt. Gen. Janet Wolfenbarger, vice commander of Air Force Materiel Command since December 2009, is moving to a new assignment as the military deputy to USAF’s acquisition executive in the Pentagon, announced service officials Thursday. In her new role, Wolfenbarger...

A Glimpse of the Future?

The Operationally Responsive Space program offers insights into what future space acquisition might look like, said Air Force Undersecretary Erin Conaton. “ORS is teaching us valuable lessons about how to leverage readily available technologies in our acquisition efforts to create...

Airmen Wearing New Uniform in Afghanistan

More than 180 joint expeditionary tasking airmen assigned to provincial reconstruction teams in Afghanistan are wearing the Operation Enduring Freedom Camouflage Pattern, or OCP, uniform, this summer as their everyday uniform. These are the first Air Force personnel to don...

Global Hawk Block 30 Configuration Becoming Whole

The Air Force’s newest RQ-4 Global Hawk Block 30 remotely piloted aircraft recently completed its first production acceptance flight with the full sensor suite envisioned for this variant, including its electronic eavesdropping payload, prime contractor Northrop Grumman announced Thursday. Currently,...

Court Halts DADT Enforcement

The Pentagon said it will comply with this week’s 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruling that ordered the government to stop enforcing the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy prohibiting homosexuals from openly serving in the US military. Pentagon spokesman Marine...

Improving Personnel Support for Deployed Airmen

The Air Force Personnel Center has dispatched a team to Southwest Asia and installed self-service kiosks to provide enhanced personnel support to deployed airmen. This effort began in November 2010 in collaboration with the Air Staff and Air Forces Central....

Alaska Air Guardsmen Prepare for Arctic Rescues

Pararescuemen of the Alaska Air National Guard’s 212th Rescue Squadron at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson conducted a jump training exercise at the base’s Malamute drop zone with members of the Coast Guard. This training was in preparation for a search-and-rescue exercise...

Missing Vietnam War Pilot Identified

Pentagon forensic scientists have identified the remains of Maj. Richard G. Elzinga, of Shedd, Ore., an Air Force pilot who went missing in action on March 26, 1970, along with his co-pilot, when his O-1G Bird Dog failed to return...