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Reserve Citizen Airmen support successful rocket launches

Citizen Airmen from the 920th Rescue Wing, Patrick Air Force Base, Florida, support a SpaceX launch from Kennedy Space Center (Courtesy photo)

Citizen Airmen from the 920th Rescue Wing, Patrick Air Force Base, Florida, support a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket launch Oct. 11, 2017 and a United Launch Alliance Atlas V launch Oct. 15, 2017 in Cape Canaveral, Florida, much like the one shown here from earlier this year. (Courtesy photo)

PATRICK AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. -- Members of the 920th Rescue Wing assisted in two successful rocket launches Oct. 11 and 15 from Cape Canaveral, Florida.

Aircrew aboard an HH-60G Pave Hawk helicopter worked attentively to clear the Eastern Test Range and ensure the Atlantic coastline beneath the rockets’ paths was clear of vessels and people beforehand.

The SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket that launched Oct. 11 from Launch Complex 39A, carried the EchoStar 105/SES-11 satellite. The joint EchoStar and SES high-powered communications satellite will provide media distribution and coverage over North America, including Hawaii, Mexico and the Caribbean, according to the Kennedy Space Center website.

The United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket launched on Oct. 15 from Launch Complex-41, carried supplies for the National Reconnaissance Office. Designated NROL-52, the mission was in support of national security, according to the ULA website.

“I’ve supported at least 20 launches since I’ve been with the 301st Rescue Squadron and it’s an honor every time,” said Staff Sgt. Joseph Montero, 301st RQS operations duty controller for the Oct. 15 launch. “In the case of Wednesday’s launch it was nice to support a mission that directly impacts the security of our nation.”

The next launch out of NASA’s Kennedy Space Center is scheduled for November in which SpaceX launches the first Falcon Heavy rocket, the most powerful rocket since Apollo’s Saturn V.