|11-05-2005, 05:46 PM||#1 (permalink)|
Join Date: Jan 2005
SOC shutdown marks end of era at Blue Cube
by Valerie Joseph
21st Space Operations Squadron
11/4/2005 - ONIZUKA AIR FORCE STATION, Calif. (AFPN) -- With each flip of a switch, the room grew eerily quieter as the end of an era drew closer.
The equipment room of the Satellite Operations Center-52 inside the Blue Cube here ceased operations recently, after 36 years of around-the-clock support to the space community.
Members of 21st Space Operations Squadron, Lockheed Martin, Harris Technical Services Corporation and Honeywell joined together to power down the mainframe and auxiliary computer systems to the once busy SOC that provided command and control support to various satellite programs.
“Shutting down SOC-52 is truly the end of an era,” said Kevin Hansen, information technology and support functional area manager with Harris Technical Services Corp. “The excitement and emotion surrounding the day-to-day operations of SOC-52 will be deeply missed.”
SOC-52 began conducting operations as a Mission Control Complex in October 1969, when the Air Force Satellite Test Center first assumed operations. It supported many satellite and launch missions as part of the 2nd Space Test Group, 750th Space Group, 5th SOPS, and finally, the 21st SOPS.
The squadron’s final mission on Feb. 14, 2004, commanded the last inertial upper stage and placed the next-to-last Defense Support Program satellite into a perfect geosynchronous orbit.
SOC-52 was the primary Air Force center to support the space shuttle from its initial launch April 12, 1981, and continued its support until the space shuttle operations mission was transferred to the Center for Research at Schriever Air Force Base, Colo., in 2004.
During its five decades of satellite operations, SOC-52 people have supported a host of diverse Department of Defense satellite and launch programs, including NATO III, SKYNET, Global Positioning System, DSP, Defense Meteorological Satellite Program, Defense Satellite Communications System II and III and Delta II.
SOC-52 workers have also played an important role in the launch of numerous civil satellites including Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite, Polar Orbit Operational Environmental Satellite, Tracking and Data Relay Satellite System, the Hubble Space Telescope and Chandra X-Ray Observatory, as well as the Ulysses, Galileo and Magellan interplanetary missions.
People from 1st and 3rd SOPS at Schriever have used SOC-52 as a geographically separated relocation site in case of a contingency there.
Lt. Col. Larry Price, 21st SOPS commander, said this is another step in transforming space capabilities to meet future needs of the warfighter.
“Our military satellite command and control capabilities began here in the Blue Cube back in the early 1960s -- in the era of the Consolidated Satellite Test Center,” the colonel said. “Many of the CSTC capabilities transitioned to newer technology at the Consolidated Satellite Operations Center, now known as Schriever Air Force Base.
“Transitioning SOC-52 to a ‘cold’ status is a positive step in moving forward in our business,” he said.
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