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4th SOPS Closes The Door On Legacy

Lt. Col. Doug Schiess, 4th Space Operations Squadron commander, turns off the lights and shuts the door to symbolize the official decommissioning of the Satellite Mission Control Segment April 18. The legacy system was officially powered down in a ceremony attended by Wing leadership and 4 SOPS squadron members. (U.S. Air Force Photo/Dennis Rogers)
by Staff Writers
Schriever AFB CO (SPX) Apr 25, 2011
In a ceremony held April 11, 4th Space Operations Squadron members decommissioned the Satellite Mission Control Subsystem and Air Force Command Post Terminal closing the door on a legacy of operations.

"Today we turn the lights off on the command and control system that has been operating the wing's secured, protected military satellite communication operations for 16 years," said Lt. Col. Douglas Schiess, 4 SOPS commander.

Through the SMCS, 4 SOPS has been operating the Milstar constellation, the Air Force's protected SATCOM system that provides warfighters global, secure, survivable, strategic and tactical communication during peacetime and throughout the full spectrum of conflict.

The SMCS and AFCPT have been providing ground control operations for Milstar since 1995. At that time SMCS was leading technology that outperformed its predecessor, the Mission Control Element.

This time, the Advanced Satellite Mission Control Subsystem is taking over the lead and is providing ground control support for both the legacy Milstar and the next generation of protected MILSATCOM weapons systems, the Advanced Extremely High Frequency satellites.

"This is a huge leap forward in capability for both our operators and our end users," said Col. Wayne Monteith, 50th Space Wing commander. "We have proven this capability to provide combat effects to the warfighter much faster. This is a big day for us and it's long overdue."

The commander also recognized the wing's partners in this endeavor.

"We couldn't have done this without the great support from our partners at Headquarters Air Force Space Command, the MILSATCOM program office and the contractors who worked hard to make this transition a reality," said Colonel Monteith.

The ceremony included members outside of Mod 13, as the 148th Space Operations Squadron conducted power down of the unit's fixed constellation control station at Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif.

Now that the equipment has been turned off, 4 SOPS members are working with local and national museum curators to find the right home for the legacy equipment.

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