Designed to operate on-orbit for one year, the Air Force now expects its first Operationally Responsive Space imagery satellite to function for three additional years, perhaps longer, according to a release from Schriever AFB, Colo. Further, while the Air Force originally envisioned ORS-1 to support commanders down to the tactical level in US Central Command’s area of responsibility, the satellite now also supports US Pacific Command “on a regular basis” and US Africa Command and US Special Operations Command “occasionally,” states the base’s July 14 release. “We’re focused on continuing to push innovation and the utility of this system,” said Lt. Col. Toby Doran, commander of Schriever’s 1st Space Operations Squadron. The Air Force launched ORS-1 into space in June 2011. The satellite houses the SYERS-2 electro-optical sensor that U-2 surveillance airplanes also carry. ORS-1 operators were able to extend the satellite’s life by moving it to a higher orbit, which did “not substantially affect the required quality of its images,” said Lt. Col. Tony Calabrese, 1st SOPS director of operations. (Schriever report by Scott Prater)
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.