CAPE CANAVERAL AIR FORCE STATION, Fla. --
Team Rescue assisted its mission partner, the 45th Space Wing, in supporting United Launch Alliance’s successful launch of the WGS-8 spacecraft aboard a ULA Delta IV rocket from Space Launch Complex 37 here December 7 at 6:53 p.m. ET. The powerful Delta IV rocket boosted a high-bandwidth military satellite into orbit adding communications capacity for the U.S. Department of Defense.
Airmen from the 920th Rescue Wing, Patrick Air Force Base, Florida, launched in two HH-60G Pave Hawk Helicopters or Jollies to clear the Eastern Range beneath the rocket's path into space.
While the rocket could be seen throughout the nearly four-minute firing of its first-stage engine, the Jollies remained airborne and could be heard patrolling the Range. The rocket's four solid rocket boosters illuminated in the clear night sky as they fell away and the flight climbed southeast over the Atlantic Ocean.
The Air Force’s eighth Wideband Global SATCOM communication spacecraft will provide anytime, anywhere communication for soldiers, sailors, airmen, Marines, and international partners through broadcast, multicast, and point-to-point connections. The WGS constellation is the highest-capacity military communications system in the U.S. Department of Defense arsenal. WGS supports a wide variety of missions for Combatant Commanders around the world to perform missions, from search and rescue efforts to military operations.
According to Brig. Gen. Wayne Monteith, 45th Space Wing commander and mission Launch Decision Authority, this launch is the culmination of many long hours and hard work by the entire mission team.
Information compiled from a 45th Space Wing news article.