The 2nd Space Operations Squadron at Schriever AFB, Colo., accepted satellite control authority of SVN-65, the third GPS Block IIF spacecraft, according to a base release. The handover occurred during an Oct. 26 ceremony at Schriever. Initially, personnel from the Space and Missile Systems Center, the Air Force’s space acquisition arm, transferred the authority to officials with 14th Air Force, which oversees the service’s space operations, states the Oct. 30 release. SCA then passed to Schriever’s 50th Space Wing and finally to the 2nd SOPS, whose airmen will control SVN-65 during its operational service life, together with members of Air Force Reserve Command’s 19th SOPS. The Boeing-built positioning, navigation, and timing satellite reached orbit in early October after launch from Cape Canaveral AFS, Fla. “Everything went smoothly following the launch,” said Col. Bernard Gruber, SMC’s GPS director. “This is the third GPS Block IIF that we’ve placed on orbit and the process seems to get better with each launch. We were able to decrease the timeline for checkout of the vehicle and it’s clear we’re on the right track for future success.” (Schriever report by Scott Prater)
The Air Force overall reduced its size by 120 aircraft in fiscal year 2021, but kept about the same number of fighter, bomber and attack aircraft, according to data supplied by the service. The F-35 fleet saw the biggest increase while the B-1B bomber fleet saw the largest decline.