The 50th Space Wing at Schriever AFB, Colo., accepted control authority for ORS-1, the Defense Department’s first Operationally Responsive Space satellite. Placed into orbit in June, ORS-1 will provide intelligence-surveillance-reconnaissance support to troops in Southwest Asia, including Afghanistan and Iraq. The wing took control of the satellite on Sept. 23 from the Space and Missile Systems Center, following 45 days of on-orbit checkout. The wing’s 1st Space Operations Squadron now controls both the ORS-1 bus and its Goodrich-supplied SYERS-2 electro-optical/infrared camera. “As for our customers at [US Central Command], they’ve stated that this satellite increases their space-based ISR data significantly,” said Lt. Col. Mike Manor, 1st SOP commander. It took only about 30 months from concept to launch for ORS-1. Most satellites can take about 10 years for that cycle, according to Schriever officials. (Schriever report by Scott Prater) (See also Goodrich release.)
U.S. Air Force F-35s and F-22s regularly deploy deep into the Pacific region from Alaska, Utah, and Hawaii. In the future, though, the head of U.S. Indo-Pacific Command would like to see the Air Force permanently station fifth-generation aircraft west of the international date line—closer to China.