News: 22 SOPS transportable antenna gets 'green light'
Story by Staff Sgt. Robert Cloys
SCHRIEVER AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. - During December 2012, the POGO-A antenna located at Thule, Greenland was considered unusable and investigations showed that a repair may not be the answer. After an Air Force Space Command commander directive and discussion at the AFSCN Senior Steering Group, a unique solution was devised.
"[It was determined by Honeywell Technical service] the repair costs would require over a million dollars, and require several months, perhaps years, because of the limited outdoor work season available at Thule," said Donald Blasius, program lead for TVCF. "It was determined that the best course of action to support the loss of POGO-A would be to move the Transportable Vehicle Checkout Facility core van from the Eastern Vehicle Checkout Facility in Florida, move the transportable antenna from Vandenberg AFB and connect the two components, as originally designed, though they had not been connected in 20 plus years."
With the recent removal of one of the PIKE antennas, 22 SOPS already had infrastructure in place for AFSCN making Schriever a perfect candidate to accommodate the new antenna.
"TVCF, in conjunction with infrastructure already at PIKE, is now able to carry some of the load that has been dispersed to other remote tracking stations allowing increased capacity throughout the network," said Maj. Aaron Gibson, 22 SOPS commander.
Even with the equipment being over 20 years old, there has been no loss of operational capability, said Gibson. As of Sept. 2, operational testing is complete and operational use is slated to begin Sept. 4.
"The signing of the Operational Acceptance Letter by the 50th Network Operations Group commander, officially marked the success of the operational testing," said Blasius.
The transportable antenna will continue to function operationally as simultaneous efforts are made in both New Hampshire and Thule building new antennas to replace POGO-A.
"The TVCF was part of our overall mitigation strategy approved by HQ AFSPC to offset the loss of one of our ground antennas at Thule, Greenland. Using the transportable antenna as a temporary gap filler provides us with additional capability while we construct new ground antennas at New Boston, New Hampshire and Thule, Greenland."
After completion of the new antennas, TVCF will continue to be utilized for redundancy purposes.
"The TVCF provides our Air Force Satellite Control Network users 40 hours per week of additional support scheduling time, with up to 60 satellite contacts per week load sharing from the other nine antenna sites," said Gibson. "The TVCF provides both uplink capability for tracking, telemetry and command data as well as downlink capability to support our user's mission data needs."