Saturday, September 25, 2021

USAF Space Operations Squadron decommissions Satellite Vehicle Number 38 for GPS III satellites

Satellite Vehicle Number 38(SVN-38) was decommissioned to make way for the next generation of Global Positioning System (GPS) III satellites at the Schriever Air Force Base (USAF) in Colorado, USA.

2nd SOPS Operations Director Lieutenant Colonel Michael Schriever said: “We still remind [ people during ] tours that the reason our system is so safe is because of the airmen who command it.

The Second Space Operations Squadron (SOPS) Chief Bus System Analyst, First Lieutenant Kristina Brandes, confirmed that the satellite was removed as it reached the end of its operational life.

Kristina Brandes said,  “It’s one of our oldest satellites that launched 22 years ago. Once we turn off the transmitter (one of the final commands), it will basically be dead in the air…it will be tracked as space debris.”

2nd SOPS operations director lieutenant colonel Michael Schriever said: “We tell [people during] tours, all the time, that the reason our constellation is so healthy is because of the airmen who control it.

“[There are] a couple decades of experience here across the members who are taking care of these vehicles. Their expertise enables the vehicles to live well past their design life, making sure we can command [and] control it providing the best service to our global users.”

So far, the squadron has decommissioned a total of 37 satellites.

The first USF GPS III satellite was launched in December last year, while the second was launched in August.

Insight Analysis

GPS III satellites are designed to provide better positioning, navigation and timing services and enhanced anti-jam capabilities.

Designed by Lockheed Martin, sophisticated satellites can provide three times higher accuracy and up to eight times more effective anti-jamming capabilities.

Valerie Tricarico
Valerie Tricarico is a Security journalist specialized in C4ISR systems. She covers transnational security issues, such as international relations, terrorism, insurgency, state stability, organized crime, WMD proliferation and cybersecurity, as well as trends within OSINT analytics and news reporting on developments in the global intelligence community.